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.

Duties

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.

Is This the Right Career for You?

Not sure how to choose the best career for you? Now, you can predict which career will satisfy you in the long term by taking a scientifically validated career test. Gain the clarity and confidence that comes from understanding your strengths, talents, and preferences, and knowing which path is truly right for you.

Take The Test

 

 

 

 

 

Work Environment

Public relations and fundraising managers held about 81,200 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of public relations and fundraising managers were as follows:

Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations                          21%
Educational services; state, local, and private 20
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.

Work Schedules

Most public relations and fundraising managers work full time, which often includes long workdays. Some managers work more than 40 hours per week.

Education and Training

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.

Education

For public relations and fundraising management positions, a bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications, English, fundraising, or journalism is generally required. However, some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a master’s degree, particularly in public relations, journalism, fundraising, or nonprofit management.

Courses in advertising, business administration, public affairs, public speaking, and creative and technical writing can be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, public relations managers can become certified through the Public Relations Society of America. Candidates qualify based on a combination of experience and education and must pass an exam to become certified.

The Certified Fund Raising Executive program, offered by CFRE International, is also voluntary, but fundraisers who are awarded certification demonstrate a level of professional competency to prospective employers. To become certified, candidates must meet certain education, professional practice, and professional performance requirements, as well as pass an exam. Fundraisers must apply for renewal every 3 years to keep their certification valid.

The International Association of Business Communicators offers two credentials that allow communications specialists to demonstrate higher levels of knowledge and expertise. Public relations and fundraising managers may apply to take the certification exams when they have 6 to 8 years of experience in the communications field.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Public relations and fundraising managers must have several years of experience in a related occupation, such as public relations specialist or fundraiser.

Personality and Interests

Public relations managers typically have an interest in the Creating and Persuading interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Creating interest area indicates a focus on being original and imaginative, and working with artistic media. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people.

If you are not sure whether you have a Creating or Persuading interest which might fit with a career as a public relations manager, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Public relations managers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Communication skills. Managers deal with the public regularly; therefore, they must be friendly enough to build rapport and receive cooperation from their media contacts and donors.

Leadership skills. Public relations and fundraising managers often lead large teams of specialists or fundraisers and must be able to guide their activities.

Organizational skills. Public relations and fundraising managers are often in charge of running several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Managers sometimes must explain how the company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.

Speaking skills. Public relations and fundraising managers regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to explain the organization’s position clearly.

Writing skills. Managers must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them succinctly in order to keep the attention of busy readers or listeners.

Pay

The median annual wage for public relations and fundraising managers was $116,180 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $64,790, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for public relations and fundraising managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $133,480
Management of companies and enterprises 131,560
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations                             117,430
Educational services; state, local, and private 102,530

Most public relations and fundraising managers work full time, which often includes long workdays. Some managers work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook

Employment of public relations and fundraising managers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

Organizations continue to emphasize community outreach and customer relations as a way to enhance their reputation and visibility. Public opinion can change quickly, particularly as social media increases the speed at which news travels. Consequently, public relations managers will be needed to coordinate and help respond to news developments to maintain their organization’s reputation.

Fundraising managers are expected to become increasingly important for organizations, such as colleges and universities, that depend heavily on donations. More nonprofit organizations are focusing on cultivating an online presence and are increasingly using social media for fundraising activities.

Job Prospects

About 7,800 openings for public relations and fundraising managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who exit the labor force, such as to retire, and from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations.

Prospective public relations managers should face strong competition at businesses that have large media exposure and at prestigious public relations firms.

Job prospects for fundraising managers should be best for those with a master’s degree in philanthropic studies or fundraising. These degree programs lead to experience in the industry, giving graduates an advantage over those who do not have such experience.

For More Information

For more information about public relations and fundraising managers, including professional certification, visit

CFRE International

International Association of Business Communicators

Public Relations Society of America

 

FAQ

Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

I would like to cite this page for a report. Who is the author?

There is no published author for this page. Please use citation guidelines for webpages without an author available. 

I think I have found an error or inaccurate information on this page. Who should I contact?

This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at help@truity.com.

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.

Find Jobs Near You