According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, nonprofit organizations account for more than 9 percent of all wages and salaries paid in the U.S., with nearly 1.6 million tax-exempt organizations reporting more than $1.5 trillion in total revenues.

Interestingly, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that nonprofit hiring is expected to increase significantly in 2013.

Many of those jobs are for fundraisers.

There was a time when raising money was done in large part by volunteers and a few self-directed folks who understood the power of leaving a legacy.

Notable wealthy families such as Carnegie, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt and other more recent examples such as Gates and Buffet embrace noblesse oblige, the perceived obligation of the rich to give.

Grassroots efforts emerge from opportunity and the confluence of events, like when, in the 1870s, the citizens of Boulder secured a 44-acre parcel of land and raised $15,000 (matched by the state Legislature) to establish the University of Colorado.

Today, there is a significant body of knowledge about the art and science of philanthropy and tremendous opportunity to engage professionally in the support of organizations that stir your heart or embrace your passion.

Employment opportunities in nonprofits are as diverse as any business enterprise and include executive management, legal, financial management, operations, IT, human resources, marketing, communications, public relations, program delivery and, of course, fundraising.

What does it take to be a really good fundraiser?

Personal integrity:Impeccable ethics, a moral compass and trustworthiness

A donor-centric perspective:Putting the donor first

Commitment and loyalty:It's more than just a job; it is at least a career and maybe even a calling

Patience and persistence:Building trusted relationships take time

Infectious exuberance:Optimism, positivity and a can-do attitude

Transparency and accountability:Knowing and following the rules

Discipline and work ethic:Working smart and working hard

Confidence and grace:The ability not only to articulate but to listen

Authenticity:No hidden agendas or manipulation

Humility:Understanding the powerful role of the facilitator

Gratitude:For your own abundance and for the generosity of the donors

Inspiration:Going beyond self to find motivation, purpose and creativity and inviting others to find theirs

Passion:Philanthropy is more than a financial transaction; magic happens when people with a shared vision provide resources for a common desired outcome

Yet fundraisers come in many shapes and sizes. There are those who focus on special events, others who take on annual giving through direct mail and phonathons and still others who strategically build tiered models with fundraisers who specialize in "major" gifts and/or bequests and other deferred gifts. Each segment of the fundraising pyramid has its own knowledge base and methodologies.

Some people raise money indirectly, and others raise money through written proposals and personal conversations. Some ask for a certain amount at a certain time, others participate in building long-term relationships that result in a donor getting to know the organization or project so well that they say, "how can I help," or even, "how much will it cost to do that?"