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5. Fundraiser

The nitty-gritty: How good are you at asking for money? Fundraising is a key ingredient to a nonprofit's ultimate success and requires nurturing a rapport with donors, and establishing a database of existing and potential donors. Prepare to confidently unleash your outgoing, persuasive nature. It takes chutzpah to ask for money. You might ask for large gifts from individual donors, solicit bequests, host special events, apply for grants, or launch phone and letter appeals. In a smaller nonprofit, you may very well be asked to dig in on all of these activities. If you're hunting down a large gift, you'll be on the frontline — kibitzing over long lunches and meeting with potential donors in their offices and at their homes. But this is a job that takes more than charm and a verbal soft shoe. Good listening skills are essential too. A successful fundraiser knows how to building relationships and patiently waiting for the right time to press for a gift — especially when asking for thousands of dollars. If you revel in event planning, organizing parties with purpose, so to speak, can be a cool aspect of fundraising, too. Think black-tie dinners, charity walks. There are behind the scenes jobs — drafting form fundraising letters asking for donations, writing grant proposals and penning those all-important "thank you for your donation" notes.
The hours: part-time consultant/full-time staff; evenings and weekend hours
Median pay: $23.90 to more than $80 an hour
Qualifications: Many colleges and universities offer courses in fundraising. It's not unusual for fundraisers to transfer into the position from careers in public relations, sales or market research. One way to sharpen your fundraising skills is to enroll in classes and certification programs offered by The Association of Fundraising Professionals and The Foundation Center. The AFP's Fundamentals of Fundraising course offers introductory-level sessions — seven workshops — to introduce the novice fundraiser to the fundamental concepts and techniques of fundraising. The Foundation Center offers free and affordable classes nationwide in classrooms and online that cover grant proposal writing and fundraising skills. Planned giving specialists should have grounding in gift and tax law. There's no sweet talking Uncle Sam when it comes to the requirements for a charitable deduction.

Kerry Hannon is the author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.

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