Opinion: Looking for a Career in Development in 2011? Good Choice and Good Luck!
The cons of the profession include:
- Many institutions do not totally support the missions they are supposed to support.
- Success is hard to measure and can be frustrating at times.
- The pay is typically at least 25 percent less than in the corporate world.
- More individuals than ever from the corporate sector are seeking nonprofit jobs.
- The nonprofit career path is typically not defined, and turnover is a problem.
- The culture of a nonprofit and how it is supposed to operate can be confusing.
I have been in the development field since day one of my career. It has given me opportunities to use educational experiences and a variety of skills. What drives me, and should drive you in this field, is the belief that you can make a difference. I want my children and grandchildren to see kind acts of philanthropy and the importance of helping those in need. It is never about you; it is about the institution you proudly represent.
As a consultant who interacts with many in the profession daily, I hope that future development professionals will be able to follow a clear nonprofit career path. Many individuals are landing positions, and jobs will continue to open as turnover occurs — development jobs typically have a life expectancy of 2.5 years at midlevel positions and seven years at more senior-level positions, according to Christopher Bryant of Bryant Group.
Of possible concern is that many professionals 50 years of age or older are finding it difficult or impossible to obtain new jobs in development as they are asked to leave positions because they "cost too much." Why pay less for a replacement employee with less experience to save money when your experienced professional can raise greater amounts of funds in the long term? The relationships and connections these individuals already have in place are extremely valuable.
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.