What Public Relations and Fundraising Managers Do
Public relations managers direct the creation of materials that will enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.
Public relations and fundraising managers generally work in offices during regular business hours. However, many of these managers travel to give speeches and to attend meetings and community activities. Some work more than 40 hours per week.
How to Become a Public Relations or Fundraising Manager
Public relations and fundraising managers need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some positions may require a master’s degree. Many years of related work experience are also necessary.
The median annual wage for public relations and fundraising managers was $116,180 in May 2019.
Employment of public relations and fundraising managers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of public relations managers will be driven by the need for organizations to maintain their public image, especially with the growth of social media. The need to raise funds for nonprofit organizations will require more fundraising managers.
Public relations managers plan and direct the creation of material that will enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.
Public relations managers typically do the following:
- Develop their organization’s or client’s corporate image and identity
- Identify audiences and determine the best way to reach them
- Designate an appropriate spokesperson or information source for media inquiries
- Help clients communicate effectively with the public
- Write press releases and prepare information for the media
- Assist and inform an organization’s executives and spokespeople
- Devise advertising and promotion programs
- Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff
Fundraising managers typically do the following:
- Develop and carry out fundraising strategies
- Identify and contact potential donors
- Create and plan different events that can generate donations
- Meet face-to-face with donors
- Apply for grants
- Manage progress toward achieving an organization’s fundraising goals
- Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff
Public relations managers review press releases and sponsor corporate events to help maintain and improve the image of their organization or client.
Public relations managers help clarify their organization’s point of view to its main audience through media releases and interviews. They monitor social, economic, and political trends that might affect their organization, and they recommend ways to enhance the firm’s image on the basis of those trends. For example, in response to concern about damage to the environment, the public relations manager for an oil company may create a campaign to publicize its efforts to develop cleaner fuels.
In large organizations, public relations managers often supervise a staff of public relations specialists. They also work with advertising, promotions, and marketing managers to ensure that advertising campaigns are compatible with the image the company or client is trying to portray. For example, if a firm decides to emphasize its appeal to a certain group, such as young people, the public relations manager needs to make sure that current advertisements are well received by that group.
In addition, public relations managers may handle internal communications, such as company newsletters, and may help financial managers produce an organization’s reports. They may also draft speeches, arrange interviews, and maintain other forms of public contact to help the organization’s top executives.
Public relations managers must be able to work well with many types of specialists. In some cases, the information they write has legal consequences. As a result, they must work with the company’s or client’s lawyers to be sure that the information they release is both legally accurate and clear to the public.
Fundraising managers oversee campaigns and events intended to bring in donations for their organization. Many organizations that hire fundraising workers rely heavily on the donations they gather in order to run their operations.
Fundraising managers usually decide which fundraising techniques are necessary in a certain situation. Common techniques include annual campaigns, capital campaigns, planned giving, and soliciting for major gifts. Social media has created another avenue for fundraising managers to connect with potential donors and to spread their organization’s message.
Those who work on annual campaigns focus heavily on contacting donors who have given in the past to request that they give again. Finding new contacts for future donations is also part of a successful annual campaign.
In contrast, fundraising managers who work on capital campaigns generally focus on raising money over a short time period for a specific project, such as the construction of a new building at a university.
Fundraising managers who spend most of their time on planned giving must have specialized training in taxes related to gifts of stocks, bonds, charitable annuities, and real estate bequests in a will. Major gifts are a feature of many fundraising efforts, and fundraising managers generally request these gifts in person, given the large value of the potential donation.
Public relations and fundraising managers held about 88,000 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of public relations and fundraising managers were as follows:
|Educational services; state, local, and private||21%|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||21|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||15|
|Management of companies and enterprises||8|
Public relations and fundraising managers usually work in offices during regular business hours. However, many must travel to deliver speeches and attend meetings and community activities.
They work in high-stress environments, often managing and organizing several events at the same time.
Most public relations and fundraising managers work full time, which often includes long workdays. Some managers work more than 40 hours per week.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of public relations and fundraising managers.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
Advertising Sales Agents
Advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$53,310|
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers plan programs to generate interest in products or services.
Fundraisers organize events and campaigns to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization.
Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service.
Multimedia Artists and Animators
Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment.
Public Relations Specialists
Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent.
For more information about public relations and fundraising managers, including professional certification, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Public Relations and Fundraising Managers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm (visited ).