Advice for Friends in Career Transition

Considering the recent news headlines and the fact that I live and work in Charlotte, North Carolina it should probably come as no surprise that I have been getting more and more calls from people in the banking industry. They are calling to ask for advice on how to make the transition to the nonprofit sector.

Sadly, they have limited knowledge about nonprofits. “I’m sorry, but your 7 years in marketing does not equal 7 years in nonprofit fundraising.” That isn’t what I’m telling them, but it is what I’m thinking. Unfortunately sales and marketing experience do not translate directly to fundraising, but that isn’t to say there is no correlation. That is the general theme from this older post from onPhilanthropy.com entitled Dot Com to Dot Org: What to Expect When Employees Make the Transition to the Non-Profit Sector.

I am always open to newcomers to the profession of philanthropic facilitation, but I don’t know if the nonprofit sector would benifit by aquiring “leadership” from the banking industry. Am I alone in that opinion?

The best advice I can offer for friends in a career transition? Volunteer. This can take many shapes, but is bound to add richness to their life, and relevant experience that can help mitigate the difficulty in translating a job history in the for-profit sector into a viable career future in the nonprofit sector.

About Benjamin Mohler

Benjamin Mohler, CFRE, ACFRE has a keen interest in understanding the connection between culture and the practice of philanthropy. His experiences working with international nonprofit organizations, extensive international travel, together with his graduate work at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and leadership roles with local nonprofits combine to produce his expertise in this area. He’s also a big baseball fan.

Mohler is the Assistant Vice President for Major and Planned Gifts at Eastern Kentucky University. Prior to his current role, he held key roles with The William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte, Cedarville University, and The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Advanced Certified Fundraising Professional (ACFRE), and serves AFP at an international level, including his current role chairing the publishing committee for the AFP Fund Development Series.

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