Fundraising and Development

Development team at work

Are you curious about how your humanities background applies to careers in fundraising, development, or grant writing? There are a range of positions available in this field at all levels.

Click on any of the topics in the menu below to learn more about typical responsibilities, necessary skills, general salary information, and other resources.

(Not interested in Development? Check out the Career Resources page to browse other interesting job titles and info!)

Why would this field appeal to someone with a humanities / liberal arts degree?

Our goal is to connect humanities graduates with jobs that are interesting, can draw on their skills in some way, and provide a stable (and even thriving) income. Jobs in fundraising, development, and grant writing require strong communications skills, the ability to connect with an audience, and research skills. These are skills that most humanities / liberal arts graduates obtaining during their degree program and you will most likely be able to cite many examples of how you have used these skills in the past (for example, finding support for a conference that you helped to co-organize, applying for and receiving your own grant funding to support your research, reaching out to community to promote a course/conference/student group). 

You are most likely to find working in fundraising, grant writing, or development with nonprofit organizations. These have the added benefit of advancing a mission that may be of interest to you (education, museums, exhibits, cultural centers, organizations supporting the arts, charitable organizations, etc). 

Most of the entry-level and mid-career positions will not require a specific degree. Additional certifications are available online and fairly easy to obtain. Read through the “Necessary Skills” section for more.

What types of jobs are available in fundraising, development, or grant writing?

While the terms “fundraising” and “development” are similar, there are subtle differences in how they are used by nonprofits and other organizations. Development is an activity that supports the long-term financial health of an organization while maintaining the organizational culture. The goal is to build positive relationships with donors who support the mission and cultivate long-lasting relationships. Development professionals will contribute towards multi-year strategic planning, craft narrative for donors surrounding the impact of their support, and work with potential partners to explain the value of their donation.

Fundraising, on the other hand, is more focused on raising money for a specific project and short-term needs. Fundraising professional might reach out for contributions for a one-time project, update and maintain databases of contacts, and solicit annual gifts.


Possible job titles:

  • Grant Writer
  • Fundraising Associate
  • Foundation Fundraising Manager
  • Development Content Manager / Copywriter
  • Development Officer
  • Program Officer – Fundraising and Development
  • Development Manager
  • Director of Development
    What does this work involve?

    We listed a number of possible job titles in the “In Brief section above”. Responsibilities will vary by position, organization, region, and other factors. However, the following fundamental skills will generally apply:

    • Writing original content for outreach campaigns.
    • Updating and maintaining databases of contacts. 
    • Strategizing fundraising campaigns
    • Working with programming, administration, and others to identify fundraising priorities
    • Managing multiple projects on tight deadlines
    • Oversee, coordinate, and manage the organization’s fundraising initiatives
    • Plan and implement an overall development program
    • Work with others to develop web content, communications, informational materials, and other documents.
    • Conduct prospect research on potential corporate and foundation supporters
    • Prepare and submit grant proposals
    • Prepare and process gift acknowledgment letters
    • Manage event execution details
    • Prepare required reports of grant activity
    • Develop and modify policies/procedures/systems in accordance with government regulations and organizational needs and objectives.
    • Review grant contracts and correspondence with granting agencies.
    • Monitor funded projects to prevent over-expenditure of funds, ineligible expenditures and ensure awards are fully expended.
    • Pre-award management, post-award management
    • Assist department heads in developing and preparing grant budgets, both for grant applications and reporting and for the annual budget cycle.
    Necessary skills

    Relevant skills will vary by position but may include:

    • Bachelor’s degree. Some job postings may specifically call out degrees in Marketing, Business, English, Journalism, or Communications.
    • Experience as a copywriter / writing skills
    • Experience in development, grant writing, or related
    • Strong interpersonal and presentation skills
    • Familiarity with donor databases and other CRM platforms
    • Proven track record of building successful relationships
    • Grant writing experience
    • Experience with planning long-term campaigns
    • Research skills (for looking into grants and conducting prospect research)
    • Familiarity with grant databases
    • Strong organizational skills
    • Experience developing budgets
    • Experience producing reports
    • Strong project management and time management skills

    Should I pursue certification?

    Becoming a grant writer or working in development do not require certification. Obtaining an additional credential or completing an online course would not harm your application, though. There are a number of courses online available.

    Salary information

    Salary will vary by position, organization, region, and other factors. Here are a few examples from different job titles and seniority levels according to

    Foundation Fundraising Manager

    National average: $37,894 (range of $19,000 to $76,000)

    Grant Writer

    National average: $52,005 (range of $37,000 to $73,000)

    Development Officer

    National average: $64,586 (range of $44,000 to $94,000)

    Fundraising Associate

    National average: $70,680 (range of $51,000 to $99,000)

    Development Content Manager / Copywriter

    National average: $81,924 (range of $54,000 to $124,000)

    Development Manager

    National average: $90,778 (range of $49,000 to $167,000)

    Director of Development

    National average: $92,254 (range of $57,000 to $150,000)