Working in charitable finance

When working for a non-profit organization, one of the many areas you may find your skills useful will be in charitable finance. Anyone with a background in finance or sales can find working for a non-profit organization fits well with their skills. This is because at least a third of any non-profits daily operation has something to do with fundraising.

The Importance of Fundraising

Maintaining the survival of a non-profit organization requires working for donations or grants. Like a for-profit business, non-profits can not continue their mission without someone giving them money. Unlike a for-profit business there are no shareholders or investments as part of the financial planning. This means working funds for a non-profit organization must come in the form of grants, donations or exchange for services.

Fundraising Skills

For a non-profit organization to have working funds, there are usually paid employees in charge of fundraising. Many jobs in charitable finance will require a variety of skills and knowledge. Some of these will include:

  • Creative thinking
  • Public relations
  • Sales
  • Money management and budgeting
  • Creative writing
  • Organizational management
  • Business theory

Fundraising Work

When you work in finance for a non-profit organization you will be utilizing and applying for many resources. Some of the many jobs you may find are:

  • Grant applications to local, national and international government sources
  • Grant applications from trusts or other charitable endowments set to disperse funds and resources.
  • Obtaining corporate sponsorships or other forms of donations
  • Obtaining personal donations through individual and mass media efforts
  • Obtaining and organizing support efforts of groups set up to provide funds through sponsored events or sales
  • Organizing membership drives and collecting dues in exchange for certain benefits or updates from the organization
  • Product sales through catalogs or retail centers
  • Providing services for a fee such as consulting or advocacy

Job Security

The one item you should do, as with any job, is do your research about the employer. Working for a non-profit organization can prove both beneficial and disastrous if you are not careful. Here are some things to check into before taking a job with any non-profit group.

  • Age of the organization - how long has the non-profit been in existence? As with any business model, non-profit organizations are prone to the same failure rate as a for-profit employer.
  • Ability to raise funds - what is the financial stability of the non-profit? If the organization has seen tough financial times recently it may be a sign of future trouble.
  • Type of work needed - what is the job description? Know what exactly you will be doing and why.
  • Organization mission or goal - what is the goal or mission of the non-profit? If the organization ideals do not match with yours, you may find yourself in possible conflict with issues or efforts which may arise.
  • Future outlook - does the organizations outlook seem positive or ongoing? You do not want to take a position expecting long term employment with an organization which may be winding down operations in the near future.

As with any type of employment you should always look into job security issues when looking to work for a non-profit organization. If there are questions unanswered or given unsuitable responses, you may want to look for other opportunities in the voluntary workplace.