Alumni Stories: Tom Schenck ’89 on How to Break into Careers in Fundraising

Over the course of his career, Tom Schenck has worked in entertainment sales, served as a head of school, coached water polo and wrestling, and worked in Entertainment Marketing for Marvel — where he also played Spiderman for fundraising events. We asked him to share information on his current work in fundraising and education.

Position: Assistant Head of School for Advancement at Wasatch Academy.

Two sentence description of what you do:

Tom Schenck bow tie pic

I oversee the total landscape of marketing and fundraising to reach all development goals—from annual fund and planned giving to alumni relations and grants. I also work with major gifts  and money raising events.

1. What is most satisfying about your current work?

Connecting people with their passions to the right model of philanthropy, and achieving goals by being a life-long student.

2. What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

Start by volunteering in a local charity…I founded my own foundation and worked in admissions. You should enjoy helping people and enjoy competition. Don’t personalize rejection. You should have a diverse background of experiences. Be organized and be passionate about the cause you are promoting.

3. What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Call people at various charities and arrange an informational interview to see what they are looking for. Attend a conference of fundraisers. Do your online research.

4. How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

It has given me a sense of creating a big picture view of the world and its possibilities.

5. Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you think we should?

I am interested in talking with people who are interested in learning more about working in development or education…life is about giving back.