Q. I am interested in pursuing a career in development/fund raising, since that is what I am currently passionate about. However, eventually I would like to work in an agency. Would this be possible, or would I be locked into a career of fund raising/development forever? -MS
A. Development/fund raising is very much part of the broader PR discipline. You are right to assess whether it takes you too far off course from your eventual desire to move into an agency position. I know individuals who have made the transition rather easily, while others have had difficulty landing more traditional PR positions. However, there is a growing demand for individuals with development/fund-raising experience in PR agencies. A friend in a small, 3-person agency just hired a full-time business development specialist, while major agencies have several individuals in these roles. These positions might serve as good entry points for you to join an agency after developing your skills in fund raising. These jobs are directly tied to winning new business for the agency, so you are playing an important role in the agency. If you decide to do so, you can transition from agency business development roles into client interaction positions rather easily. It’s a bit of an indirect route, but quite doable. In this economy, strong business development talent is very much in demand everywhere. Good luck.