As part of our series exploring different Salesforce-adjacent career paths, let’s dive into the world of Fundraising/Development Operations.
Fun-fact: this is how I got my start in Salesforce.
What It Is
First, development (fundraising) teams are to nonprofits what sales teams are to companies. They bring money to an organization, typically in the form of donations.
So Development Operations are the tools & activities that support this function. Devo Ops peeps, as I tenderly call them, support their relationship managers & Executive Directors in successfully fundraising for the org.
What It Can Look Like
Formal Devo Ops staff tend to exist in large organizations that can afford to hire them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a role with those responsibilities in a smaller place. Here’s what you’d do:
- Run reports & dashboards to show fundraising pipeline, campaign performance, event attendance, etc..
- Provide logistical support for major events, like galas and other fundraisers
- Perform gift (donation) processing & send acknowledgments
- Support on annual appeals & other fundraising campaigns
- Establish best practices on how to properly enter data. Always a must
- Other data entry & maintenance
- Prospect research support – whether that’s performing the research yourself on prospective donors, or supporting the teammate who does
- Wear “multiple hats”, meaning you could also be working with your marketing, program and volunteer teams to corral your constituent data
How it Differs from Admin
This depends on the org. At a large nonprofit, a Devo Ops team might support their fundraisers with training and reporting in Salesforce, without having to worry about configuration. But at a smaller org, it’s not uncommon for the Salesforce Admin to be this same person.
Who It’s Good For
If you already work for a nonprofit that’s open to expanding your responsibilities, then it may be easier to make this transition. But if you work outside of nonprofit, an interest in the sector certainly helps.
Tips for Breaking In
A general understanding of fundraising & the nonprofit sector helps. Salesforce knowledge, even if outside of nonprofit, can also help. But this all really depends on the org, its size, how they approach fundraising and their specific need for the role.
An org using Salesforce will typically include that in the job description, even for non-ops roles. Also keep in mind that some devo ops jobs won’t have that phrase in the title. Scan the description to gauge how much of the role is truly ops. (For ex. Development Associate & Development Coordinator are entry-level titles that tend to be ops heavy.)
More resources for Development Operations Careers
How the Org Database Became My Career – by me, but I promise this isn’t a flex. When I googled “fundraising operations career story”, this blog was the first thing that popped up (!)
Ten Characteristics of a Great Fundraising Operations Team Member by ZuriGroup