Be a Generalist First!
As I analyzed my career, I found while I was doing many specific functions, I had become a super generalist. I could get answers to questions even if I didn't specifically know the questions. Generalists can adapt to a variety of development positions over time — which makes them more marketable. I also suggest, especially in the early part of your career, that you work in different development areas such as universities, health care, social services, etc. You may find the culture, history and traditions are different in each place, but the functions you bring to the table can still be applied with success anywhere. With time, you determine if you like to manage or generate time, talent or treasure. It's not easy to be charged with doing both, as many in our field can attest!
I am convinced that with experience, a "jack of all trades" can be a master of all. There is nothing wrong with being a generalist. Try it, and you may like it!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.