“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

—Nelson Mandela


As a development professional, you strive to provide the very best for your organization and everyone you serve—students, patients, deans, physicians, donors, board members, etc. In the midst of doing so, many development professionals forget that it’s equally important to invest in themselves.

While everyone should continually invest in personal education, it’s easy to put it at the bottom of the list with so many other priorities needing your attention. But, by  forgoing to invest in yourself, you are unintentionally depriving those you are most eager to serve. By furthering your education, you will be better able to connect with donors, inspiring larger, more meaningful gifts that will improve your organization and the experience of all involved.

Need more inspiration? See below for additional reasons why you should continue your professional development.

1. The development field is changing—and you need to keep up.

Ask a senior colleague what it was like raising money when they first started in the world of professional development, and chances are, whether they began their journey 20, 10, or even just 5 years ago, there will be numerous differences between how it was then and how it is today. Donors are becoming more savvy and involved in their philanthropy, technology is playing a larger role, and campaigns are growing in frequency and dollars raised. As it is in any field, it is critical to stay up-to-date with the changes.

2. What you learned in college isn’t enough.

If you were fortunate enough to determine that you wanted to be a fundraising professional in college, congratulations! Many development professionals weren’t as lucky, and this has become a second career for them. However, whether you began immediately after graduation or found this career years down the road, you most likely did not learn everything you needed to know in the classroom. In fact, a recent survey shows that only 68% of respondents feel college prepared them for their careers, and an astonishing 90% feel that updating their knowledge and professional skills is critical to keeping up with the changes in their fields.

3. Professional growth will increase your job satisfaction.

Everyone experiences burnout at some point in their career. However, those who have the opportunity for professional development are more likely to be satisfied and engaged with their current jobs and organizations. If you are one of the 92% of professionals who feel that ongoing education is important, ask your manager about available opportunities to develop your skills and, ultimately, increase your job satisfaction.

4. It can open the door for advanced career opportunities.

If you are looking for a promotion or hoping to secure a more senior-level position at another organization, you need to make yourself as highly valued as possible. By increasing your knowledge and expertise, you will excel at your current role and stand out among other candidates.

Explore the resources available to you. It can be as simple as reading or taking an online class. Perhaps your organization actively offers ongoing training. Be sure to take advantage of every opportunity you can. There is no better way to advance your personal mission—and that of your organization.


Learn about Individual Coaching for Development Professionals

The Art and Science of Donor Development