April 21, 2022

Career AdviceMarkets & Free Enterprise

The F(undraising) Word

By: Claire Kittle Dixon

I love the F word.

I use it frequently, in fact. I say it in front of my clients and candidates…in front of mature audiences and young professionals….even kids. Heck, I say it in front of my mother-in-law. I’m shameless about it.

No matter when or where I use it, it never fails to raise eyebrows.

I don’t think people are offended by it; they just don’t think about it that often.  But they should.  Because it’s absolutely critical to everything we do here in the free-market universe.

And that’s why you’ll hear me blurting out “FUNDRAISING” every day and twice on Sunday.

Fundraising has been and likely will always be Talent Market’s greatest talent need. On any given day, about a third of our searches are development-focused. And as I write this, it’s even higher: of Talent Market’s 50+ current searches, more than 20 are in development.

And that’s why I want everyone to embrace the F word as much as I do.

Specifically, I want young professionals who haven’t yet decided on a career to strongly consider fundraising.

It’s one of the most diverse fields in the liberty movement. Development roles can focus on relationship building with major donors or foundations, writing, research, management, strategy, data analysis, events, campaigns, estate planning, direct mail, corporate relations, or all of the above! There are an F-load of options!

If you love free-market ideas, fundraising will give you a chance to be engaged with these ideas. A good fundraiser needs to understand free-market principles and be able to talk about them, write about them, and connect with people who share our appreciation of these principles.

If you’re good at fundraising, you’ll have plenty of job opportunities to consider throughout your career. See our openings list for proof.

I also want free-market nonprofits to consider a few key items related to fundraising talent, especially in this market.

If you are hiring and see a candidate you like, you need to act very quickly. If you don’t snatch up that talented development officer, one of the other bazillion organizations hiring will.

Think about unconventional candidates. Do you really need someone with 5 years of experience fundraising for freedom? Or would you consider an individual with transferable skills who is eager to join the liberty movement?

Treat candidates well during the hiring process. We recently had a candidate drop out of the running for a development opening because she wasn’t pleased with how the organization treated her and she knew she had myriad other options to consider. Sure enough, another nonprofit hired her within days.

Treat your existing development staff well. It’s much easier to keep them than to hire.

Consider a development track for your organization’s internship program. If your free-market organization hosts interns, be sure that some of them are assigned to your fundraising team and make sure all of them are exposed to fundraising and learn about its importance in our world. If we don’t develop the next generation of fundraisers, who will?

Finally, I want everyone reading this to do a few things for me.

Encourage young professionals to consider development as a career path. Many recent graduates are thinking about a career in policy because it’s the most obvious path (I was one of those!). But they probably have no idea that there are far more openings in development, nor do they understand just how many different types of opportunities are available within the fundraising realm. If we don’t open their eyes to this, who will?

Hug a fundraiser today. Do you know someone in fundraising? Go hug them, give them a buzz, shoot them a text, or drop them a line right now and thank them for what they do to advance liberty.

Finally, let’s all say the F word with a little more frequency. It’s a word worthy of repeating. Fundraisers keep the lights on in the nonprofit world. Let’s face it, without fundraisers, we’re all…..doomed. 😉 What did you think I was going to say?