The Institute of Fundraising says it hopes a new system of professional qualifications for fundraisers will be seen in the future as mandatory.
The courses, which will operate at four different levels, are expected to be in place by late 2010. Paul Marvell, director of learning at the institute, said he hoped 5,000 fundraisers would complete one of the new qualifications in their first five years of operation.
"In future, more employers will look for formal qualifications," he said. "People will see it as mandatory."
The courses will take between six months and two years to complete and will cover topics including law, ethics and fundraising strategy.
The plans are outlined in a new report from the institute, Career-Long Learning for Excellent Fundraising. It says fundraising "is often not seen as a serious career option for those entering the job market".
It adds: "There is not seen to be the range of professional development options that other professions can offer."
The institute already accredits the Certificate in Fundraising Management, which less than 10 per cent of fundraisers have completed.