Nonprofit hiring managers often receive long boring resumes with the same information – the only difference being the name and contact information.
When they get thousands of resumes for fundraiser positions, imagine your resume is so good that it stands among the top 5% of the resumes.
After reading this guide, that is exactly what will happen.
In this, you’ll learn:
- How to choose the right layout and format for your resume.
- Complete fundraiser resume examples that you could copy.
- How to write each section of your resume with examples.
- Pro resume tips to get you among the top 5% of candidates.
If you’re just starting out, pick a modern resume template from our resume builder that would perfectly match a fundraiser profile.
Fundraising Resume Example
A dynamic candidate with a financial accounting background and 4 years of professional experience seeking to join Integral Resources as a fundraising coordinator to further my skills in persuasion and communication. In my previous job at the American Cancer Society managed a fundraising project that achieved a $3M funds target 2 months before the anticipated time.
Jan 2019 to Aug 2022
American Cancer Society
- Managed the Cancer Society’s funds and budget with a team of 4 accountants.
- Designed and implemented training programs for local fundraising staff on soft skills and fundraising techniques.
- Maintained relationships with top investors and donors – frequently visited meetings to discuss the progress of operations.
- Coordinated the 2021 annual fundraising event and obtained monetary funds of $20,000+ on the same day.
University of Waterloo
Bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance
2015 – 2018
- Event coordination
- Raising funds
- Project management
- Accounting and budgeting
- Financial reporting
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
How Much Does a Fundraiser Earn?
According to payscale, the average salary of a fundraiser is $52,000, while it can vary from $35,000 to $85,000 depending on the experience and performance. Depending on your package, you might entertain tips, bonuses, and incentives.
In addition, you get to build relationships with other organizations and professionals opening you to new opportunities.
How to Write an Excellent Fundraiser Resume?
A fundraiser job does not typically require a specific formal education making fewer entry barriers to newcomers. Your hiring manager will get many resumes for a fundraiser job opening.
Only about 5% of those resumes will be actually read by them, and a handful of them will be called for interviews.
Getting your resume into that folder is not easy if you make the same mistakes most other candidates make. You should start your resume with a proper plan and structure it so your hiring manager can easily understand it.
Then, the content in your resume should be solid regardless of whether you have previous fundraising experience.
Let’s start writing your resume by first defining the layout and format.
Fundraising Resume Layout
With the right layout, you can plan everything that goes in your resume – the sections, headings, and subheadings will be finalized here.
This is an example layout we suggest for a fundraiser resume:
- Header with name and contact information
- Professional Summary
- Work history
- Additional sections (certificates, languages, and interests)
Make your layout based on your profile. However, make sure you retain the main sections. You could directly put these sections on your resume template. If you don’t have one, check out a modern resume template for fundraisers in our builder.
Fundraising Resume Format
Pick which resume format you’re going to use to present your experience section.
These are the three standard resume formats in use:
- Reverse chronological order: In this, your most recent experience will be listed first, and the rest of your experience will be listed in chronological order.
- Functional (skills-based) format: In functional format, your experience section starts with your skills. You should write your key skills and provide examples of your relevant achievements.
- Hybrid format: This will be a mix of the above two formats.
The reverse chronological resume format is the most popular one among candidates applying for fundraiser positions. In fact, it provides the hiring manager with a clear idea of your career progression.
When you write a well-structured resume, saving hiring managers time, they will likely read your entire resume increasing the chances of it being shortlisted.
Top Keywords for Your Fundraiser Resume
Companies, including nonprofit organizations, now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to shortlist and manage the thousands of job applications they receive.
The ATS tracks the important keywords pre-set by the recruiter and scans them in the resumes. The resumes that mostly match the set criteria will be selected and read by the hiring managers.
To pass the ATS test, your resume should be rich with the right keywords. Finding these keywords is not hard – if you read the job advertisement carefully, you’ll find most of the skills, experience, and certifications they are looking for in the perfect candidate – these are the keywords.
To get more relevant keywords, you can also check the company’s website to see its vision, mission, and future projects.
Do not overstuff your resume with keywords. Always prioritize natural writing in your resume. Remember, it will be read by a human too.
If you need more inspiration on identifying the right keywords, read our complete resume keywords guide.
Write the Header to Start Your Fundraiser Resume
The purpose of your header is to introduce your name and contact information to the hiring manager. Keep this section short and clear. Make it easy for the hiring manager to find your contact details.
Here is an example of a good header and a bad one:
406, Park Street,
Follow these guidelines to write a quality header:
- Starting the header with your first and last names would be ideal.
- Add the job title you’re applying for.
- Write your mobile number and email address – this information will be used by the recruiter to contact you.
- If you have a well-maintained LinkedIn account, that would be an advantage as a fundraiser – make sure you add the link here.
- Do not include the full physical address in the header.
Grab the Hiring Manager’s Attention with a Resume Summary
The hiring manager would judge your sales pitch to a potential donor by reading your resume summary. If the resume summary doesn’t interest them in reading your resume further, your sales pitch won’t interest a donor to consider funding.
Therefore your professional summary needs to be an attention-grabbing statement that makes the hiring manager wants to read the rest of your resume and, ideally, make them want to meet you for an interview.
Here’s an example:
Be specific in your professional summary and address the employer directly. Your summary needs to be tailored to each position you apply for.
Stand Out With a Solid Fundraiser Experience Section
Recruiters are typically interested in your fundraising experience. Your professional contacts would be quite advantageous if you have fundraising experience in the same geographical locations.
Also, in your experience section, you should showcase the fundraising skills you’ve developed whether you were in a fundraiser job previously or not – that helps you to get shortlisted regardless of your level of experience.
Writing a set of roles & responsibilities in your experience section would be the worst mistake you could make. No hiring manager is particularly interested in knowing your roles & responsibilities in the previous job – they only care about what you really get involved in and what you achieved.
The experience section of a senior fundraiser
Fundraising campaign manager
- Developed promotional materials.
- Carried out cash handling and recording.
- Handled client relationships.
- Worked closely with existing donors.
- Managed annual giving campaigns for multiple clients.
- Created and planned content for fundraising efforts.
- Met prospective donors regularly.
Fundraising campaign manager
- Developed fundraising strategies for a hospital event, resulting in a 27% increase in collections compared to the previous year.
- Recorded and presented fundraising progress to key stakeholders throughout the project timeline.
- Achieved the company’s fundraising goals for 2021 in 11 months.
- Secured corporate sponsorships amounted to $2M in the last year from major donors.
- Worked closely with the executive director in maintaining the company’s public relations and developed strategies to strengthen the company’s brand image.
Here’re a few guidelines to follow when writing your experience section:
- List your achievements and accomplishments in the previous positions. Read our complete guide to writing achievements for further inspiration.
- Use action verbs to start each sentence in your experience. Verbs such as managed, achieved, collaborated, and collected are powerful for a fundraiser profile.
- Keep each position description to 4 to 6 lines. Write them short and in clear language.
- State the most essential achievements first.
- Use numbers to add credibility.
The experience section of an entry-level fundraiser
- Planned fundraising events.
- Carried out fundraising website management.
- Coordinated communications between the donors and internal departments.
- Participated in team-building activities.
- Carried out press releases to drive brand awareness.
- Managed special events.
- Created content for 4 social media accounts adhering to tight deadlines.
- Managed fundraising website and its content attracting 20% more website visitors with SEO.
- Increased the website fundraising conversion rate from 3% to 4.5% in a year.
- Coordinated the fundraising training webinar online for 200+ fundraisers around the world.
- Worked in liaison with the finance, marketing, and operations teams to implement fundraising events.
- Created presentations and carried out communication activities with prospective donors collecting monetary and other funds amounting to $100,000 in the last two years.
Demonstrate the times you used your negotiation skills, communication skills, people skills, and sales skills to achieve company’s objectives.
Showcase Your Education in Your Fundraising Resume
For most fundraising jobs, there won’t be mandatory formal education requirements. Check your job advertisement to know more about what your hiring manager is looking at.
In either case, writing your education section on the resume is crucial.
If you’re applying with years of fundraising experience, keep your education section short and utilize that extra space to write more about your experience.
Similarly, if you’re applying as an entry-level candidate, you could expand a bit more about your formal education.
Bachelor’s degree in finance, 2015-2018
- Business communication
Top Fundraising Skills for Your Resume
Writing a “SKILLS” section helps your fundraiser resume in two ways – it helps your resume pass the ATS – also, helps the hiring manager identify that you’ve recognized the most important skills for the job.
Your job here is to pick the RIGHT SKILLS for the job.
There’re two types of skills: soft skills and hard skills.
Soft skills are a candidate’s personality traits – these can’t be taught – but can be developed.
Hard skills, also called technical skills are job-specific skills that are required to perform tasks. These can be learned.
Soft Skills for fundraisers
- Communication skills
- Decision making
- Leadership skills
- Detail oriented
- Active listening
- Positive attitude
- Public relations
- Interpersonal communication
- Negotiation skills
- Time management
Hard Skills for fundraisers
- Performance tracking
- Project management
- Strategic planning
- Website management
- Event planning
- Graphic design
- Video creation
- Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
- Database management
- Data analysis Data interpretation
- Cash handling
- SEO/ SEM
Additional Sections for a Fundraiser Resume
Though your resume is complete with the above sections, an exceptional fundraiser resume consists of a couple more sections. We call them additional sections.
These are short specific sections to deliver valuable information to the hiring manager.
Don’t consider these sections as fillers, as most candidates use additional sections to fill out the second page that they have already started.
Here are some examples of additional sections for your fundraising resume:
- Computer skills & certifications
- Extracurricular activities
- Awards & media recognition
- Social media footprint
Computing skills & certifications
A fundraiser needs to have basic computer literacy to carry out the job. Though the fundraiser job profile is not something that you’ll be performing in front of a computer, the basic skills would come in handy.
Include that in this section if you’ve completed any computer or IT course or certification.
In addition, there’re specific certification programs that are highly regarded in some markets. Read the job advertisement to identify those skills certifications and try to complete them.
One such certification program is The Certified Fundraising Executive, issued by CFRE International – an independent nonprofit organization.
When you have the right skill certification, your application will be at the top of the list, beating the competition.
Your multilingual skills would be a valuable addition to your profile. Most of your fundraising job will involve communicating with different people.
In the course, you’ll meet people who speak various languages. If you speak their language, communication will be more effective, and you could easily build trust and credibility.
In fact, some hiring managers could specify the requirement of speaking multiple languages.
When you’re writing this section, make sure you indicate the language proficiency for each language you state.
Here is an example:
Awards & recognitions
If you have received any awards or recognitions for your previous work involving fundraising, you could mention that in a separate section.
Including such valuable information in a separate section makes that information more visible to the recruiter.
Social media footprint
Your social media following and audience would be an asset you could take advantage of here – especially if you have a large following on a professional platform such as LinkedIn.
Your professional connections would be precious in order to become a high-performing fundraiser in a short period of time.
Tips to Improve Your Fundraiser Resume
- Double-check your resume with Grammarly. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Do not let the resume leave with a simple mistake that ruins the whole reading experience for the recruiter.
- When you create the basic structure of the resume, spend more time optimizing your experience section – test different versions of your resume.
- Use a modern resume template to create the fundraiser resume.
- Getting a job is a full-time job itself. Do your research and optimize the resume accordingly. It will take time for you to come up with a final version.
Write a Cover Letter that Complements Your Resume
Include a cover letter in your job application. This will be an extension of your professional summary.
The cover letter is a tailored document you write directly to the hiring manager describing how you would be a great fit for the role.
Keep your cover letter to about half a page. Write 3 or 4 paragraphs describing your skills, experience, and expertise and how those will help you become successful on the job.
A cover letter is particularly important for a candidate applying without having much experience. If you’re an entry-level candidate or someone in a career transition, state your passion for the job and your “WHY” for applying.
Try to maintain the same template to create your cover letters as well. This will make the hiring manager identify your resume and cover letter easily and will show your organizing skills.
What is the role of a fundraiser?
Fundraising Coordinators are hired by nonprofit organizations and are in charge of raising the money required to maintain the organization’s operations. Their typical job duties include planning fundraising events, supervising fundraising staff, cultivating relationships with donors, developing and implementing fundraising strategies, keeping track of payments, and working with the organization administrator.
How do you write nonprofit resume?
There’s no particular difference between writing a resume for a nonprofit organization and a private or public sector organization. The main sections, such as professional summary, experience, education, and skills would be written on the resume. However, the skills required for a nonprofit organization could be different from other organizations. Also, the additional sections, such as volunteering experience, interests, and relevant certifications, would be valuable additions.