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Manager, Philanthropy & Fund Development - Nonprofit Sector

"This organization makes a measurable difference in the community but making this impact costs real money. That’s where my role comes in. Whether it’s raising money to construct a new building or getting funding to leverage a new social innovation, my job is focused on connecting donors to things they really care about. I leverage my skills as a researcher as well as a passionate storyteller. It’s hard work, and you need to be patient and focus on building long-term relationships. But the satisfaction of finding and connecting enthusiastic funders with worthy innovative community programs that create positive social impact is priceless."

Salary Range:

$87,000 - $122,000

The Tip

We are all storytellers. But storytelling is a skill you need to learn and practice. Take courses and find opportunities to practice your storytelling.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Systems Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Understand systems thinking

  • Recognize trends, opportunities and underlying patterns


Human-Centered Design & Design Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Think laterally

  • Identify patterns

  • Work with third-party groups, such as think tanks, labs and accelerators

  • Ability to formulate research questions


Communication, Collaboration & Facilitation

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Use contextual knowledge

  • Communicate effectively in all formats

  • Facilitate small & large groups

  • Cultivate new collaborations and partnerships across sectors

  • Use technology and specialized collaboration tools

  • Compelling presentation & report writing skills


Knowledge & ability to:

  • Be authentic, empathetic and ethical

  • Ask questions

  • Embrace challenges as opportunities to create systemic change

  • Demonstrate long-term social impact and sustainability

  • Break down silos and leverage relationships


Oversight & Knowledge Management

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Develop and manage the planning process

  • Direct coordination of activities across departments, stakeholders, clients & users

  • Manage operations & resources; provide oversight

  • Leverage stakeholder relationships

  • Develop and implement program schedules

  • Budget management & oversight

  • Evaluate social, financial and collective impact


Core Transferable Skills

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communications skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) with a minor in social innovation

  • Diploma in drama from local college

  • Voracious consumer of psychology resources including the Hidden Brain podcast


Content is king and will only become more important. My education in journalism combined with social innovation and drama gives me a valuable combination of creative, business and technical skills. When I thought about my education “mix” I focused on making it my unique asset.

Employment Experiences:
  • Summer job with tourism bureau while in university

  • Managed theatre at college when studying drama

  • Started career as the fund development coordinator for a local charity

  • Recruited to develop strategic direction and case for support for organization and its $15-million capital campaign

  • I currently look for innovative and leading-edge ways to source new revenue for this organization


I needed to understand how stories are sourced and told, so I leveraged university to learn how to curate content to drive engagement. I then sought jobs in organizations that would allow me to apply my skills and acumen in business, journalism, videography and drama. What I do every day is the intersection of what I’m good at, what I love to do and making a living. My test for taking on any job is simple—would I do what I do every day for free?


I had just started to work with a new organization and was invited to speak at an event. I prepped my PowerPoint slides and presentation on the plane. I arrived only to learn it was an outdoor gathering of about 50 people in a circle and I had to talk about the impact of their giving on our organization essentially without notes. It was a really great learning experience and from then on, I learned to be ready for any kind of situation where I could tell our story.

Community Experiences:
  • Was a passionate and effective fundraiser for student causes in university

  • Teach a pro bono course to nonprofit organizations so they can leverage their fundraising activities

  • Part-time actress and volunteer at local theatre company

  • Vice-president for local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals


I’ve learned a lot by doing. I gained proficiency with the tools and channels I need for my job, but also learned what resonates with different audiences. I realized early on my passion for creating special events and innovative fund-raising activities is significant and can make an impact on the things that are important to me and the organization I am raising money for.

Contextual Experiences:
  • Voracious consumer of popular culture and the factors that drive trends that may be of interest to potential supporters of our charity

  • Member of Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2008


It sounds silly, but I focused on becoming famous in my organization for being the person who knows what’s going on with everyone. This is part of my unique value proposition.


  • Actively network with influential community leaders—in both the private and public sectors. To succeed in this job, I needed to passionately build and cultivate networks.

  • It takes time to develop relationships—particularly when asking for financial support—whether from foundations, corporations or individual philanthropists


I need to be social and easy to get along with because if I am, people will let me into their world. It is a world where relationships meet social causes and the trick is to find the point of intersection. I am strategic, intentional and patient.

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