By Kelly Medinger
A summary of key similarities and differences between the nonprofit and for profit worlds of fundraising and sales
How does for-profit sales and marketing compare to the world of nonprofit fundraising?
While there are distinct differences, most notably in the "mission" vs. "bottom line" objectives, there are many similarities as well. Veteran fundraiser Tony Poderis highlights these similarities in his recent article, Sales Professional to Development Professional: A Workable Transition. Poderis' 35 years in fundraising and 19 years in sales and marketing for General Electric Company make his perspective especially noteworthy.
"It is unfortunate that far too few non-profit and non-government organizations see the close parallel between the role of a fund-raising professional in the non-profit community and a sales professional in the business world," comments Poderis. He cites the high demand for experienced development officers yet often shallow pool of candidates, and he points to interested sales professionals as a potential new source of talent for the fundraising profession.
Poderis' article includes a lengthy list comparing for-profit and nonprofit terminology, which is especially helpful for those considering a transition from sales into fundraising. For example, a "sales and marketing plan" becomes a "fund development plan" in the fundraising arena, and "market area" is referred to as "constituency."
Vocabulary aside, Poderis asserts that the professional who has sales experience in the for-profit world "will almost always have (or should have) a distinct advantage in being considered for a job in non-profit development."