Tree Foundation of Kern

Fund Raiser or Resource Developer

To raise the necessary support, in cash or in kind, to promote urban forestry programs and expand giving opportunities for an organization.

When it comes to expanding the urban forest, the best intentions and most brilliant concepts are futile without the resources necessary to carry them to fruition. Those working in fund raising and resource development play a critical role in helping urban forestry programs meet their goals.

As director of organizational advancement with Trees Forever in Iowa, Penny Brown helps secure resources by working witth annual membership programs corporations and foundations, endowment and capital campaigns and the government, along with the board of the nonprofit urban forestry group.

Management, marketing and technology skills are all vital components of raising and tracking funds. Most resource developers have a four-year degree and many working in the upper ranks of fundraising have obtained master's degrees.

"There are long hours and a lot of demands on your time," Brown said. "You need to juggle a lot of tasks and keep them on track. If you like change, this is a great field."

Opportunities in the field exist, both part-time and full-time, and a high turnover rate eases entry into the field.

Fund raising often requires the same skills found in sales -- the ability to connect with people and inspire them to buy into urban forestry, whether it means donating time or money, or other resources to the effort.

"I think of my role as friend raising, rather than fund raising," Brown said. "I love talking about a project that I know is going to make a difference and watching people get excited and when I ask for money they get excited."

Bonnie Moore, executive director of the Mayor's Beautification Project in Tampa, Florida agrees that people skills are critical to success in fundraising.

"We believe in people to people," Moore said. "All of the fundraising that the project does is through personal relations and networking, people to people."

"People give money to people, not to organizations or projects," Moore said.

Salaries begin in the mid-$30,000's and can rise to six figures with increased fund raising responsibility and size of the organization.