News and analysis
May 02, 2014

Job Opportunities Abound Overseas for Fundraisers

If you’re an experienced fundraiser who wants to live abroad, plentiful job opportunities await in places like Britain and Australia, especially in higher education, according to a new report.

Britain has only 1,842 college fundraisers, according to the report, commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Fundraising staffs would have to double or even triple to meet those universities’ goals of raising £2-billion a year by 2022, the report said.

Two top British fundraiser openings have been filled by American women.

Oxford’s Liesl Elder moved from Santa Clara University in California, where she managed a campaign, to take a job at Durham University in 2004. From there, she moved to the University of Edinburgh in 2008 and landed at Oxford as director of development in 2011.

Alison Traub, after helping the University of Virginia wrap up its $3-billion campaign, joined Cambridge University last June as development and alumni-relations director.

Fundraising jobs at universities and other charities overseas, however, can be challenging for Americans. One issue is cultural fit. Some Americans, for example, have difficulty adjusting to a reluctance among many British donors to talk about money.

And while fundraising by institutions of higher education abroad is no longer in its infancy, with development officers increasingly coming to higher education from other types of charities, much work still needs to be done to engage academic leaders in raising money, the report said. That is a key to fundraising success for universities, especially for the largest gifts.

Still, progress has been made in higher-education fundraising overseas. The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s CASE Europe branch and Universities UK, for example, have formed a vice chancellor’s “philanthropy group” within the latter organization. And the two groups have appointed a fellow who is looking at ways to engage academics in raising money.