A career in philanthropy involves venturing into the professional sector that primarily focuses on grantmaking as a significant part of their organization’s operation. Most individuals interested in working at such a foundation go for the position of a program staff member. The roles of the program staff include the creation and implementation of a grantmaking portfolio that effectively addresses the foundation’s core mission. Through thorough research evaluation and analysis, a program staff member can identify a method that helps the foundation at large address its key areas.
The philanthropic industry is quite competitive. A foundation survey created by The Foundation Center in 2009 revealed that the average number of staff was 6.2 individuals. To become a quality and highly sought philanthropist, one must learn many skills and critical competencies. These will help to effectively run the daily operations, including solid research skills, being a specialist or being proficient in several areas, communication, dealing with proposals, making visits to prospective grantees, and creating reports and evaluations. Other skills involved in program work include legal compliance and reading through the foundation’s financial statements.
The pool of employment in the philanthropic world is quite broad. This means one can find their niche in one of the many areas. One can either join the senior management team that oversees, manage accounting and investment assets in the Finance department, handle the day-to-day operations of the foundation in administration or take up the role of a human resource manager. The donor relations department manages the fundraising process, marketing, and asset development.
Suppose one is pretty knowledgeable on the processes of dealing with grantees. In that case, they can find a solid spot in grant management either as the director of grants management, grants administrator, or as a grants management assistant. Other areas include being a member of the foundation board, where one will be responsible for managing the foundation and overseeing and approving all the grants. Good researchers will find their skills highly valued in the research department, where they’ll be expected to produce their very own independent research on contributions.
As one can tell, there are many job opportunities in philanthropy to explore. This noble career path gives one the chance to make a difference every day in meaningful and influential ways and tiny little ways.