In the donor relations and fundraising field, critical thinking, concise communication, strong interpersonal skills, and commitment to the cause are key. Christendom instills these skills in its students, making them ideal candidates for careers in fundraising. Three graduating seniors from the Class of 2020, Monica Guza, Riley Damitz, and Isabella Reilly, have each recently started positions in this field, and are now using the skills they gained at Christendom to further important causes.

The donor relations and fundraising field, also known as development, demands talented workers who can promote an organization or cause to a diverse group of people. There are degrees in philanthropy that college students can pursue, but it can be hard to find a college where students will also learn the soft skills of critical thinking and communication that are key for success. At Christendom, students learn all these skills in the classroom and outside of it, setting them up for success in the field of fundraising — as evidenced by these three alumni.

Monica Guza she was recently hired as Development Director for the St. Jerome Institute (SJI), a private Catholic liberal arts high school in Washington, D.C. In this role, Guza will manage a caseload of SJI’s top donors, innovate strategies to identify new donors, and serve as a representative for the mission of SJI, cultivating long-term donor engagement.

Guza is excited for the opportunity to perform such pivotal work for SJI. Having experienced the transformative value of the Catholic liberal arts herself, Guza is personally invested in the mission of the school.

“The secular culture’s treatment of education is a serious problem which deeply affects all involved, especially within family life,” Guza stated. “As a grateful recipient of Christendom’s education, I would like to do all I can to promote similar schools, such as the SJI.”

An impressive job to earn directly after graduation, Guza credits the education and professional development she received at Christendom with preparing her for her new job. In the classroom, Guza honed her written and oral communication skills, as well as her ability to think analytically and creatively — skills she relies upon daily.

Guza also took advantage of the resources offered by the Career Development Department. As she was searching for jobs during her final semester at Christendom, Guza consulted with Kristin Stephens, director of career development at Christendom, to refine her cover letter and resume. She also took advantage of mock interviews, which she believes helped her land her job with SJI.

Like Guza, Riley Damitz believes that the education and professional opportunities received at Christendom prepared her to excel in the realm of fundraising as well. Damitz recently started her role as Development Associate for the Archdiocese of Washington. In this position she communicates with benefactors, processes gifts, and maintains the donor database.

In addition to the communication, organizational, and critical thinking skills Damitz refined through her studies, she believes Christendom instilled in her a passion for working for a meaningful cause.

“My Christendom education has shaped me as a whole person, such that my career means much more to me than just a way to make money,” Damitz shared. “Knowing that my work is part of my greater vocation as a Catholic, I bring my best to the office every day.”

In addition to excelling academically as a double-major (including earning two awards for her outstanding senior thesis), Damitz worked as a student assistant in Christendom’s Advancement Department, where she gained invaluable professional experience. The mentors she found in the Advancement Department took a personal interest in her success and trusted her with meaningful tasks.

“I applied to jobs in development with great confidence in my skills,” Damitz shared. “My interviewers were very impressed at the experience I had gained even as a college student.”

Isabella Reilly also worked in Christendom’s Advancement Department as a student. For Reilly, this student position evolved into a career, with Reilly now working as the Alumni and Planned Giving Assistant at Christendom. In this position, Reilly will steward the Christendom Legacy Society, assist in the planning and execution of alumni events, and much more.

According to Reilly, her Christendom education instilled in her a desire to work for a mission-based organization and equipped her with the necessary skills to do so.

“My Christendom education prepared me to be able to serve Christendom,” Reilly remarked. “My analytical habits, oral and written communication skills, and problem-solving skills made me a competitive candidate for my position.”

With plenty of development experience under her belt, Reilly is a great hire for Christendom. She has worked for the Advancement Department since freshman year, completed a development internship with Catholic Charities, and served on the Senior Philanthropy Board.

While succeeding in the development field requires the soft skills a liberal art education instills, such as strong communication, analytical thinking, and so on, truly excelling in this field requires a passion for making the world a better place — a quality that a Christendom education instills.

Christendom students and alumni continually display a strong desire to do good, to live meaningful lives, and to devote one’s talents and time to causes that matter. This is why so many Christendom alumni go on to work for non-profits, dioceses, schools, think-tanks, hospitals, start organizations of their own, or even spend time doing mission work.

Guza, Damitz, and Reilly are just a few examples of Christendom alumni who have taken advantage of all that Christendom has to offer, honing skills in the classroom, utilizing career services, and taking on professional opportunities, all for the sake of serving meaningful causes in their careers.

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