Public Relations and Fundraising Manager Career Description

public relations careers


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.


What they do

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.


Work Environment

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.


How to become a Public Relations and/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.

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.

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 Fundraising 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.



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.


Job Outlook

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.

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.


Similar Job Titles

Account Executive, Account Supervisor, Annual Giving Director, Communications Director, Communications Manager, Community Relations Director, Development Director, Public Affairs Director, Public Relations Director (PR Director), Public Relations Manager (PR Manager)


Related Occupations

Advertising and Promotions Manager, Marketing Manager, Sales Manager, Financial Manager-Branch or Department, Agents and Business Managers of Artists/Performers/Athletes


More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.


Magazines and Publications



Video Transcript

While a talent for public speaking and strong problem-solving skills are critical for public relations and fundraising managers, excellent writing skills are also essential… to precisely define a client’s goals, engage an audience, and sway them in the intended direction. Public relations—or PR—managers direct the creation of material aimed at enhancing the public image of their client. They review press releases, sponsor corporate events, and monitor trends that might affect their client’s organization. They also oversee company publications, draft speeches, and handle other contact with the public to help the organization’s top executives. Fundraising managers bring in the donations necessary to keep their organization running. They contact past donors and reach out to new donors, raise funds for new buildings, and solicit wealthy donors for major gifts. Public relations and fundraising managers work for PR firms, civic and non-profit organizations, school districts, and other organizations. Generally, they work in offices during regular business hours, but may need to travel to events and attend evening meetings. They sometimes work longer hours to meet project and event deadlines, and may manage multiple events at the same time. Public relations and fundraising managers generally need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, communications, English, fundraising, or journalism, and many years of related experience. Some positions also require a master’s degree.



Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH,
CareerOneStop, O*Net Online