Writing for Institutional Advancement

Eliza Sanders
PhD English, University of Iowa
Institutional Advancement, The Field Museum

elizaCurrently the writer for Corporate and Foundation Giving at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Eliza writes grants and reports to corporate and foundation funders, interviews scientists and educators, and creates content for her whole team to use in their work. She also gives the occasional behind-the-scenes tour and helps with evening events like exhibition openings and galas.

“Getting a non-academic job is more like dating, though–employers looking for “the one” are more likely to go on a first date with the person their friend recommends than with the stranger with the most glowing online profile or resume, right? Wouldn’t you be?”

Eliza acknowledges that academic writing is persuasive writing at its heart, and she uses her academic training to persuade her readers. When come time for interviews, Eliza suggests being prepared with pieces of writing that aren’t your dissertation. She used an abstract for a conference, and a piece she wrote for the introduction of the Gen. Ed. Lit. Norton Anthology.

Anything you have that makes something complicated accessible for the general, B.A.-holding, in-a-hurry reader is what they want to see. Non-profit development is a growing field, and grant writing positions are a good way to get your foot in the door and learn the ropes while being respected for your writing skills. After all, if you get the job, your words will be bringing in the money!

photo credit: https://www.fieldmuseum.org/science/blog/sue-photo-gallery