My Ideal Fundraising Job

I read somewhere recently – in on of those brief horoscopes or personality profiles – that I was one of the people that needed some structure even as they hated structure.  It stuck with me and made me think (way more than the quote should have, I suppose) about what I need in life and in particular, in my career/job.

As you know, loyal reader, I have recently embarked on a new career in fundraising since graduating this fall (once againJ).  So this is the perfect time to reflect on what I’m looking for in my “perfect” job and what I need.  Now, I’m self-aware enough to know that what I want and what I need aren’t always the same thing but I’m also experienced enough in the workforce (if not in this field) to try and mesh the two together as much as possible.  So here’s my list of must-haves (these are both my needs and my strong wants), good-to-haves (wants) and things that don’t really matter in a fundraising job.  When you’re finished reading – why don’t you leave a comment with your must-haves!


  • Challenge – I have to be challenged.  Nothing turns me off a job more than boring, repetitive work with little to no intellectual stimulation.  Oh, I realize that some part of every job is repetitive and perhaps not the most exciting, but I need for at least half of my job to challenge me.  Luckily, many fundraising jobs are challenging so this one should be fairly easy to satisfy.
  • Value – I need to feel that my work has value; to the company, the world, myself, etc. My work doesn’t have always has noticable value but rather overall value.  I worked one summer on a project right after high school and later found out that the final report and recommendations (which I was doing research for) was never read.  Horrible feeling to have completely wasted my (and my co-workers) time like that.  Again, working in the non-profit field generally leads to work that has value.
  • People – I need to have a job that involves communication with real people (at least some of the time).  In person meetings, emails, direct mail campaigns, social media – and hopefully, a combination of all of the above.  This was one of the reasons I loved teaching English in Korea – I was always communicating 🙂  Knowing my love of people and communication means I would like to find a donor relations, stewardship or major donor position.
  • Good co-workers – I’ve worked in places where everyone was friendly and it made it fun to come into work.  I’ve also worked at places where there were an employee or two that just poisoned the atmosphere.  This one is harder to determine until you start working but fingers crossed!


  • Change – I like for my job to have different projects or for me to have to wear different hats at different times.  Working with a small to medium sized charity would mean that I would have different projects and tasks.
  • Travel – I’ve love to find a job that involved some travel but this definitely isn’t a deal-breaker as I can always travel on my own.  Okay, this one is harder to find but like I said, I can always travel on my own time.
  • Vacation time – As much as I want to love my job and will always give 100%, I need some downtime.

Doesn’t Matter Much

  • Titles – Challenging and interesting work is much more important than what the job is called.

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

2 thoughts on “My Ideal Fundraising Job

  • January 13, 2011 at 2:39 am

    “Challenge” is the one I must have. I guess I have that now like you. I quit teaching English in Korea. I have been working in my sister’s beauty salon as a manager but almost like a CEO. I do everything except for doing hair. ^^; I challenged and it seems like I am doing well. It’s not easy to do what I really want to do. Sometimes it is a gap between what I want to do in reality and what I can do. I hope you do well what you love to do. Good luck for your Must-haves!

    • January 14, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      I see we have something in common 🙂 I’m glad that you’re doing something that you like and that challenges you – it’s so important to enjoy your job! Thanks for the good luck Sam.

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