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Philanthropy 2030: Inspiring Future Generations of Fundraisers

Increased demand for revenue and government and foundation cutbacks has led to a shortage in the number of professional fundraisers. Nonprofits across the country are experiencing an inadequate supply of candidates when looking to hire new professionals in the field.

This shortage led to the creation of Philanthropy 2030, a think tank of national leaders in the arts, consulting, healthcare, higher education and public and social service sectors.

Philanthropy 2030’s mission is to raise the visibility and desirability of philanthropy as a career. This group is the first independent board to address the fact that philanthropy is not widely known or preferred as a career choice. Its goal is to increase the workforce well before 2030.

The panel held its first meeting recently and was joined by fundraising experts from across the country. The topic: how to handle the high demand for experienced development professionals in organizations ranging from small nonprofits to large universities, hospitals and the arts. The group looked at the reality of thousands of positions that are left unfilled due to a lack of formal training and public awareness of philanthropy as a career choice and what they could do to change the situation.

One of the big outcomes of the meeting was the development of a national awareness program. Some leaders with experience in establishing programs for awareness and recruitment shared their expertise with the group. Randa Safady, Vice Chancellor External Relations for The University of Texas System, recounted the success of her institution’s “Advancement Academy.”

Safady affirmed her belief in the Philanthropy 2030 mission by stating, “The profession of fundraising in higher education is both honorable and stable, with strong career paths and good compensation. Even more gratifying is the ability of a development professional to have great impact on applying the generosity of our nation’s philanthropists to address societal problems, facilitate new discoveries and find cures.”

Other industry experts shared their thoughts on the future of philanthropy and how they are trying to feed the pipeline of young professionals. Susan Paresky, Senior Vice President of Development for Dana Farber Cancer Institute, described the onsite internship programs and monthly informational meetings she has put into place. Jerry May, Vice President for Development at University of Michigan, detailed how he runs a popular development program that has served as a model for Rodney Kirsch, Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at The Pennsylvania State University. “Those of us leading nonprofit organizations have an obligation to do all we can to grow substantially the pool of talented development professionals required to serve society,” Kirsch said.

Philanthropy 2030 plans to regroup in December with the intent of rolling out a program to attract young fundraisers nationally.

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