People have different skills. I’ve found that I have a knack for major gifts fundraising and getting to know people one-on-one. Through my blog I’ve also learned about social media, where I enjoy building online community and online marketing. These skills will occasionally overlap when I’m doing prospect research or networking but, for the most part, they are two entirely different “camps” of fundraising.
We live in a time where this is the story for more and more people. Some fundraisers become brilliant generalists with skills that help in several fundraising disciplines; others become experts in specific genres, like major gifts or annual fund. Historically, skills were developed in a more singular way. Development Directors and Vice President’s of Advancement benefit from being expert generalists, knowing about each area of development, allowing them to lead a multi-tiered development program. Major Gifts Directors and Annual Fund Directors benefit from the ability to be an advanced practitioner of their specific discipline.
Today, many people have developed these satellite skills; skills that don’t necessarily fit their everyday work. I meet more and more people who have an area in which they work, like Major Gifts, and have developed a hobby area in their free time through volunteering or personal philanthropy. It will be exciting to see how this interdisciplinary approach to development advances the fundraising profession.