If you're reading this post, you've had the thought of transitioning into higher education and working in fundraising. It can often seem tough to get into this type of a role if you do not have prior experience. So, what do you focus on? Read for five tips to help you land that higher ed fundraising job of your dreams!
- Highlight relevant professional experience - While you may not have raised dollars and donors for an institution in the past, that doesn't mean that your experience doesn't provide you with some transferable skills. Talk about your experience working with senior level executives. Speak to any times when you have had to convince someone to make an investment they would not otherwise have made.
- Don't forget about relevant volunteer experience - Volunteerism shows how much a cause means to you and that service is important in your life. If you have worked with your alma mater on any reunion campaigns or mentorship opportunities, this demonstrates a passion for higher education. If you don't have higher ed volunteer experience, that's ok! Other experience can still help, especially any work with fundraising drives or boards.
- Think beyond just front-line fundraising - Large scale fundraising departments in an institution have a variety of needs. There are research, communications, marketing and operations functions. Some schools will have donor relations departments and others have extensive digital fundraising operations. This could be a better fit for you depending on what you've done in the past.
- Look through your network - You likely are connected to a few folks through LinkedIn who are working in fundraising. If not, take a look, likely you have classmates from undergrad who are working in this area. Set up a networking call to ask questions about what their job is like, and how your background could fit in.
- Study up - In order to ace a fundraising interview, you'll want to be able to walk and talk the part. Know the terms that fundraisers use. Do you know what a LYBUNT is? Read up on current trends in fundraising as well.
Many people have successfully made the transition to a fundraising career. You can too!