Skills Fundraisers Need to Be Competitive Job Candidates

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Effective fundraising is a critical part of successful political campaigns, charitable organizations, community organizations, entrepreneurship, and even scientific research. Virtually any endeavor that needs money needs to engage in fundraising can benefit from hiring a professional fundraiser.

Education and Legal Requirements

Fundraisers are not necessarily required to have any particular academic background, and many get their start working as volunteers for community groups. Nevertheless, a bachelors’ degree in a relevant field, such as public relations or journalism helps, and may be necessary for some jobs. Masters’ programs in fundraising do exist.

For some types of fundraising, detailed legal knowledge may be necessary. In some states, independent fundraisers who work as contractors may have to register.

How to Use Skills

If you're seeking a job as a fundraiser, use this list of skills that employers commonly seek from candidates in your field. By including these qualifications on your resume or cover letter, you can stand out from the crowd and be more likely to get a callback and, ultimately, the job.

Remember, though, that desired qualifications will vary based on the position for which you're applying. 

Examples of Professional Fundraisers

Professional fundraisers can work at many different levels, from designing campaigns to simply following a telephone script. There are also different types of fundraising, from asking for big donations one-on-one (a process that might take several months of relationship building per donor), to grant writing, to organizing raffles or benefit dinners.

Naturally, the skills required for professional fundraisers can vary a lot. Nevertheless, a core group of skills are important for most fundraising positions. Additionally, successful fundraisers must be familiar with the field for which they raise money; political fundraisers must understand politics, scientific fundraisers must understand science, and so forth.

Communication Skills

It's natural that people who work in fundraising need to have good written and verbal communication skills. It's difficult to convince people to contribute their money to a cause without an excellent pitch. Fundraiser workers should be able to write letters, edit, proofread and write grant proposals and press releases.

They'll also need to be able to effectively facilitate discussions, inspire confidence and trust in face to face communication, and effectively engage in public speaking.

Interpersonal Skills

Individuals who work as fundraisers should have a wide range of interpersonal skills. They should practice leadership and assertiveness. They should be able to build relationships with donors and motivate and train volunteers. They should also know how to effectively recognize prospective donors and be persuasive in their dealings with them.

Technology Skills

Fundraising employees need to be able to reach out to supporters on social media, as well as properly collect, analyze, and store donor data. Individuals who feel known and recognized by an organization may be more likely to donate. Conversely, sending an unsolicited fundraising call to someone who has already asked to be removed from the list could alienate a potential donor permanently.

Common programs used in fundraising include Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word, as well as Raiser's Edge, DonorPerfect, and Sumac.

Sales Skills

People who fundraise for a living need to be good salespeople. It often entails promoting events effectively, acquiring sponsors for events, developing a salesforce, and securing donations for fundraising raffles. Being a salesperson also includes identifying the selling points for the organization and thinking strategically about the fundraising campaign.


Fundraiser workers need to exercise good judgment. It means strategic planning, assessing the interests of prospective donors, coordinating logistics for events and devising budgets for programs and events. This also entails measuring the effectiveness of fundraising initiatives, structuring fundraising campaigns and structuring mechanisms for online giving. They'll also need to draw consensus regarding goals and conduct research to identify prospects.

Miscellaneous Skills

Fundraisers need to have a number of characteristics that don't necessarily fit into a box. These include multi-tasking, organizing and being creative as well.

They'll need to be people who take the initiative, practice good time management, and tolerate failure. They'll be leaders who can manage projects and a staff in addition to volunteers.

Fundraiser Skills List

A - E

  • Acquiring Sponsors for Events
  • Assertiveness
  • Assessing the Interests of Prospective Donors
  • Attention to Detail
  • Composing Pitch Letters
  • Conducting Research to Identify Prospects
  • Coordinating Logistics for Events
  • Creativity 
  • Cultivating Relationships with Prospective Donors
  • Customer Service
  • Databank
  • Devising Budgets for Programs and Events
  • DonorPerfect
  • Drawing Consensus Regarding Goals
  • Editing 

F - N

  • Facilitating Meeting Discussion
  • Facility with Fundraising Software
  • Identifying Selling Points for Their Organization
  • Initiating Conversation
  • Interpersonal
  • Introducing Speakers
  • Leadership
  • Making the Final Ask for Donations
  • Measuring the Effectiveness of Fundraising Initiatives
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Word
  • Motivating Volunteers
  • Multitasking 
  • Networking

O - R

  • Organizational
  • Persuasive
  • Presentation
  • Prioritizing 
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Management
  • Promoting Events
  • Proofreading
  • Publicizing Fundraising Initiatives through Social Media Outlets
  • Raiser's Edge
  • Recognizing Donors
  • Recruiting Volunteers

S - Z

  • Salesforce
  • Securing Donations for Fundraising Raffles
  • Strategic Planning
  • Structuring Fundraising Campaigns
  • Structuring Mechanisms for Online Giving
  • Sumac
  • Supervising Staff and Volunteers
  • Taking Initiative
  • Teamwork
  • Thinking Up Themes for Fundraising Events
  • Time Management
  • Tolerating Failure
  • Training Volunteers
  • Using Social Media to Thank Donors
  • Verbal
  • Verbal Communication
  • Writing Funding/Grant Proposals
  • Writing Press Releases