Fundraisers rate work

By Jennifer Whytock

Job satisfaction among charitable fundraisers in Canada is directly tied to their level of experience and the size of the nonprofits that employ them, says a new survey.

Most veteran fundraisers, who typically work for nonprofits with fundraising experience, are satisfied with pay, working conditions and training opportunities, says the survey by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Canadian Policy Research Networks, both in Ottawa.

But less experienced fundraisers, who typically work for smaller nonprofits, report far lower job satisfaction, says the survey, which polled more than 1,300 fundraisers and is the first comprehensive look at charitable fundraising in Canada.

Many fundraisers new to the business lack training and clear job guidelines, and do not know where to find advice, says the survey.

And when less experienced fundraisers are ready to advance in their careers, says the survey, they typically move to larger nonprofits, while the smaller nonprofits they leave typically hire inexperienced fundraisers again, renewing the cycle.

The report says professional groups such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals should offer low-cost training programs to reach fundraisers at smaller nonprofits.

It also suggests that veteran fundraisers join nonprofit boards so they can serve as mentors to other board members as the nonprofits develop fundraising plans.

With government in Canada giving less money to nonprofits and making mostly short-term grants, fundraisers must compete for fewer dollars and focus on single-project grants, rather than long-term grants, says Kathryn Mc Mullen, senior researcher for the Canadian Policy Research Networks.

In these tough conditions, she says, many fundraisers either move up to larger organizations, or burn out.

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