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Fund Development Professional

Fund development professionals plan, organize and implement gift campaigns that build relationships and raise money for charitable groups or causes (for example, community agencies, arts organizations, schools, hospitals).

  • Avg. Salary $74,664.00
  • Avg. Wage $38.73
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
Also Known As

Development Director, Fundraiser

NOC & Interest Codes
The Fund Development Professional is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
NOC code: 5124

Interest in co-ordinating information to prepare and oversee preparation of reports, briefs, bibliographies, speeches, presentations, Web sites and press releases, and to develop and organize workshops, meetings, ceremonies and other events for publicity, fund-raising and information purposes


Interest in gathering, researching and preparing communications material for internal and external audiences, and in assisting in the preparation of brochures, reports, newsletters and other material


Interest in persuading to initiate and maintain contact with the media, and to arrange interviews and news conferences; and in co-ordinating special publicity events and promotions to internal and external audiences

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 19, 2016

Often working in conjunction with volunteer committees or boards, fund development professionals may be involved in a broad range of programs to raise awareness of and support for charities and other not-for-profit organizations. They may:

  • work with governing boards and management teams to create organizational readiness for fundraising
  • develop fund development plans and strategies
  • establish case statements for support 
  • implement and manage fund development strategies
  • organize and implement special events and fund raising campaigns
  • raise money for current needs (programs, services, operating budgets and capital needs) as well as build endowment funds to secure long range and sustainable sources of funding
  • maintain positive relationships with current donors and supporters and develop strategies to encourage new donations and support
  • recruit and orient volunteers
  • prepare proposals and grant applications
  • make presentations to service organizations, corporations, foundations and other community groups and individuals to solicit donations
  • handle public relations activities such as writing news releases, newsletters and feature stories or participating in radio and television interviews
  • use donation management tools to record and organize information
  • plan and administer budgets
  • conduct fund development audits and feasibility studies.

The first step in fund development often is research. Fund development professionals survey a broad section of the community to test public opinion about the organization, and determine what motivates involvement and investment in the organization. Then they design a strategy that will build relationships with donors and describes:

  • how potential donors will be identified, ranked and approached
  • the role of each staff member of the fund development program (paid and volunteer)
  • how volunteers or staff will be recruited and trained
  • budget allocations
  • how the appeal will be presented to the public or defined target audiences, and how requests for support relate to the organization's goals and objectives 
  • how and when the fund development program will be carried out
  • how donors and volunteers will be acknowledged.

When the fund development program has been approved, development professionals:

  • ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and organizational policies
  • develop a case for support
  • develop donor and prospect lists
  • make requests for donations or sponsorship from corporations, foundations and key individuals
  • handle public relations tasks
  • facilitate progress meetings
  • build and maintain a donor database
  • prepare an analysis of program results and recommend improvements for future fund development activities.

Some development professionals work on a single program or campaign for a specific purpose, such as a new wing in a hospital or a research program, for a year or longer. Others work on several projects and programs at the same time.

Fund development professionals may specialize in areas such as:

  • annual giving
  • prospect research
  • major gifts
  • planned giving
  • direct mail
  • special events
  • grant research and preparation
  • stewardship and recognition 
  • capital campaigns.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Fund development professionals spend some time working alone writing proposals, researching prospective donors and analyzing data. However, most of their time is spent meeting people (for example, on the phone, in groups). These discussions or presentations may be held during the day, after regular work hours or on weekends. Therefore, working days can be long and irregular. During a campaign or concerted fund development program, the work can be hectic, adding pressure to already busy and complex schedules.

Travel may be required for some fund development programs.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Fund development professionals need the following characteristics:

  • persistence and tact when dealing with others
  • a high energy level, lots of enthusiasm and the ability to work under pressure
  • a strong interest in the community and ethical practice
  • good written and oral communication skills
  • the ability to lead, manage and work with staff and volunteers
  • the ability to motivate, persuade and inspire people
  • the ability to manage (plan, organize and implement) complex projects
  • the ability to network and build relationships
  • excellent organization and time management skills.

They should enjoy coordinating information, finding innovative ways to handle problems, taking a methodical approach to researching information and dealing with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

To be effective, fund development professionals must be:

  • knowledgeable about a wide variety of fundraising techniques
  • sensitive to cultural differences in attitudes toward fundraising
  • knowledgeable about local, provincial and federal legislation and regulations related to fund development activities
  • able to use computers to compile and interpret statistical and financial information, present financial reports and produce gift proposals and grant applications.

People in this occupation come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most employers prefer to hire fund development professionals who have related post-secondary education or extensive paid or volunteer experience, preferably in a not-for-profit organization. Training through one of the professional associations or a post-secondary school or Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification (see Certification Requirements section) is an asset.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) regularly offers a Fundamentals of Fundraising course and a more advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) Review Course. The Canadian Association of Gift Planners and Mount Royal University also offer ongoing training in this area in conjunction with AFP.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field. Other programs and courses may be available.

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby

University of Victoria - Victoria

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

The CFRE Certification Board administers Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification, which is the accepted standard for major fundraising associations (for example, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Association of Lutheran Development Executives, Canadian Association of Gift Planners). 

Applicants for CFRE certification must have at least five years of fundraising experience and pass a certification exam.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Fund development professionals are employed by all types of charitable, not-for-profit and public sector organizations such as:

  • health facilities and disease-specific organizations
  • schools
  • religious organizations
  • cultural and arts organizations
  • social service agencies
  • consulting firms that provide fundraising services on a contract basis to not-for-profit and charitable organizations.

Experienced fund development professionals in larger organizations may advance to campaign director or fund development director positions, or specialize in specific areas (see the Duties section of this profile). Advancement may require moving to another location or employer.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Salaries for fund development professionals vary considerably depending on the responsibilities of the position, the size of the organization and its budget for development work.

Fund development professionals are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1123: Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations occupational group earned on average from $33.71 to $45.43 an hour. The overall average wage was $38.73 an hour. For more information, see the Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Communication Technology
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Calgary Chapter website:

Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Edmonton Chapter website:

Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) website:

Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE) website:

Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) website:

Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) International website:

Charity Village website:

Volunteer Alberta Resource Centre (VARC) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 19, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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