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What Does a Professional Fundraiser Do?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A professional fundraiser attempts to raise money for a project or organization. Some work for fundraising companies while others are self-employed individuals who work on contractual basis for various organizations. Additionally, many non-profit groups employ full-time fundraisers who are tasked with soliciting donations for the group on an ongoing basis.

Political organizations and electoral candidates often employ personnel to solicit donations from political supporters and corporate donors. A professional fundraiser arranges meetings with corporations and political organizations at which the policies of a particular candidate or political party are explained. Typically, they arrange meetings with entities that stand to benefit from the policies being proposed by the fundraiser's client. Likewise, town hall meetings and other political rallies may be held at which individuals are asked to make donations towards the political campaigns of the candidates that they support. The professional fundraiser attempts to convince prospective donors that they have something to gain from providing financial backing to a particular candidate or party.

Charitable groups often contract a professional fundraiser to assist with raising money to help the victims of a natural disaster, war or any other type of calamity. As with political fundraisers, charitable fundraisers solicit donations from both private individuals and corporate entities. These individuals work to prepare marketing materials and coordinate advertising campaigns to promote awareness of the suffering caused by events such as earthquakes or hurricanes. Some participate in fundraising activities while others simply provide charitable groups with marketing advice.

Aside from coordinating activities, a professional fundraiser may take an active part in soliciting donations. In many instances, teams make telephone calls to private individuals and ask them to make donations to charitable or political causes. Donors are normally able to make over-the-phone donations using debit or credit cards, while in other instances donors are instructed to make cash donations at local banks or offices. Laws in some countries limit the hours in which fundraisers and other individuals can make unsolicited calls to homeowners. Consequently, a professional fundraiser must ensure that the revenue generating activities comply with national and regional solicitation laws.

In addition to requesting donations, a professional fundraiser may also organize events such as concerts, raffles, sales and contests that are designed to generate revenue for a particular organization or project. The fundraiser may solicit donations of products to be sold or given away as prizes during these events. While this individual is normally paid a salary or fee, unpaid volunteers often work at these events. He or she is normally responsible for recruiting volunteers and assigning job duties to these individuals.

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