Is fundraising a profession?

If you ask a fundraiser how they came to be a fundraiser, the chances are they’ll tell you the ‘fell into fundraising by accident’.

That’s because in most countries, there is no formal entry route into fundraising ­­– as there is for almost all other professions. But that’s not the only area where fundraising falls short on the criteria traditionally used to demarcate professions form non-professions, such has acquiring a body of knowledge required to practice. In fact, it’s debatable whether fundraising is really a profession at all.

And that’s problematic, because many of the problems and challenges faced by fundraising reduce to the question of whether fundraising is or is not a profession: for example, lack of investment in fundraising, failure so support fundraisers publicly, and distrust of fundraising as a ‘necessary evil’.

To consider this issue, we have published a green paper that sets out the arguments, which you can download below.

And to take this challenge forward, we have established a task group of our International Advisory Panel – led by American fundraiser Cherian Koshy ­– to further explore how fundraising needs to professinalise.

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What we aim to do

a) Identify the issues affected by fundraising’s perceived lack of professional status

b) Identify how these issues, challenges and problems would be solved were fundraising to professionalise

c) Recommend whether fundraising needs to professionalise

d) Recommend what fundraising needs to do in order to professionalise.

Our vision is that future generations can choose to enter a fully-fledged profession through a defined entry route and not fall into it by accident through an ad hoc one.

More information

  • Download the Rogare green paper: Less than my job’s worth: Is fundraising a profession and does it matter if it isn’t?

  • Read Ian MacQuillin’s Critical Fundraising blog ­– The case of the accidental fundraiser and the need to professionalise fundraising.

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Cherian Koshy

Project leader

Des Moines Performing Arts (USA)

Our Associate Members

Rogare is supported in its work by a number of Associate Members – partners to the fundraising sector that share our critical fundraising ethos. Our Associate Members are: