How to transition from corporate world to fundraising?
April 2, 2014 7:43 AM Subscribe
I think I'd like to transition from the corporate world into fundraising, but I am not sure of the best way to do so. Any tips?
I am entering my mid-30s and have worked in the entertainment industry for almost my entire career. I work on the business side, and have a broad range of skills in sales, operations, contract negotiation, copywriting, project management, etc. I've worked for large companies, small companies, and freelance. I've wanted out of this business for a long time but haven't left because I wasn't sure what I wanted next.
After much soul-searching I keep coming back to working in nonprofit/fundraising, because I feel my skills are transferable enough, I don't need to get an advanced degree, and the work really appeals to me - I want to use all the skills I've acquired for good, and not to keep making crappy movies with egotistical people. My experience would be especially great for getting corporations and high-wealth individuals (celebrity and non) to give, as I've had to work a lot with those types of clients in my current industry.
However, I'm not sure where to start. My initial idea is to take a couple classes at the local university's highly-ranked fundraising management certificate program. From there, maybe I could start doing some grant writing work on a volunteer basis and see if I could eventually parlay that into paying work.
What I really want, though, is a full-time job in the business, because I feel like that's how you really learn. However, every position I see - even the lower-level ones - seems to require ample experience in nonprofit and fundraising work, which I do not have.
Would it be best to stick with my current job (which I do not like and I would love to leave ASAP, but which is tolerable on some days), take fundraising classes, and do some volunteer grant writing work for a year or two before I try to get a job in this business? Does that sound like a formula for possible success in this situation?