What are the qualities of a good fundraiser?

We are a non-profit platform with a growing community soul. > < We help the talented writers to get their voices heard. We need a fundraiser, but we don't know what sort of qualities differentiate a good fundraiser from an ordinary one.


As someone who has founded and fundraised for a social venture, I can tell you that the fundraiser must be the CEO or President. Fundraising for a non-profit is all about building a relationship with your donor base, and the donation is often as much because the donor likes the person & people as much as they like the work being done by the Foundation.

One of the most difficult paradoxes of raising for a non-profit web platform is that the more someone becomes excited by the potential of the platform, the more that they would prefer to invest cash for equity than simply donate and looking back on it, I think that would have simplified things for my social enterprise and would have been able to attract far more capital.

The other avenue that you can explore is to build in tipping or crowdfunding for your operation directly into the online experience but that will only be a viable source of funds with significant traffic and thus, the operating capital required to grow the business requires proactive outreach to supporters.

Happy to speak with you about this in more detail in a call.

Answered 9 years ago

Hi MashStories!

I completely agree with Tom. Most donors, at the end, want to connect with the founder(s). Especially early on.

But, I will say if you are looking to hire, I would recommend you ask potential candidates how much funding they have previously secured (themselves), what is the size of their network, the type/quality of connections they have (check LinkedIn). Also, it depends on if you want a growth hacker (small gifts online) or a major gift officer. Usually, those are/can be two different people. Major gifts is all about relationships and grants, social is all about conversions and engagement. Hope that's helpful!! Good luck.

PS: This is my fav fundraising book:

Answered 9 years ago

A good fundraiser is a good networker. They're able to charismatically convey the vision of your organization to potential donors/investors. You should sense a lot of charisma and energy in your interviews with a potential fundraisers. A good fundraiser must also have an impeccable reputation for honesty and transparency so your company's reputation isn't tarnished. The person should a strong, extensive existing network among individuals who would make ideal candidates as donors/investors for your enterprise. Finally, the best fundraisers are usually the founder/CEO of the company raising funds since they should be unmatched in their passion for the entity they're raising funds for. I'm happy to hop on a call if I can help any further.

Answered 9 years ago

A little late on this, but I think I have somethings to add to the conversation.

As a former fundraiser, the number one way to tell if someone is great from someone who is ordinary is to look at their past success. Every fundraiser has a different style, but what sets great ones apart from ordinary ones are the ones that know what works for them, and not just following what others say works. The great ones will be able to tell you why they are are great, and can replicate success in multiple organizations (which is normal in the fundraising world).

That said, there are models out there that can help build success. But those are more organizational models (building a donor development cycle, x# of prospects will generate x# of donors etc). However, even the best fundraisers can't raise a dime if the organization does not know what they are raising money for and why (a case statement).

Also, to build on what Tom said, fundraising is a team effort. There is relationship building at every level, both with the fundraiser and the donor, and facilitating the relationship between leadership and the donor. Founders, CEOs, ED and Board Members need to be involved in all stages and must reserve a portion of their time to this important function.

Answered 9 years ago

Many individuals entering the profession for the first time and those hiring their first development staff person are often not certain what qualities to look for in a development professional. Often one hears that development is just sales or marketing. The individual or organization about to embark into the world of development needs to understand that it is a profession.
Adherence to the Donor Bill of Rights is another step in assuring that the organization holds the donor’s interests above its own, and that you, the professional, hold the interests of the donor first, the organization second, and yourself last. So, although integrity might seem to be an inborn quality, it can be developed by understanding ethics, morals, and donors’ rights. Free White Paper on Fundraising Ethics – It is essential that all fundraising practitioners should develop an awareness of potential ethical conflicts and dilemmas.
Active listening is important to good donor relations. Listening for what the donor’s interests are is even more important than being able to persuasively explain the organization's case. Practice making “the ask” and truly listening to the donor through role playing with colleagues or by attending courses in making the ask.
The ability to motivate donors, volunteers and staff is a critical key for success. Learning the case for support and having passion for the mission of the organization for which one works, is the best way to successfully motivate another person to share that passion. There are many motivating factors that prompt an individual to contribute to a non-profit organization. Volunteers, likewise, can be motivated only if the volunteers and the fundraising staff share a passion for the mission of the organization.

Motivating the staff of the organization is also important. This starts with having respect and concern for other staff members. Staff members will be motivated by the good example set by the chief development officer. Involving staff in the development planning process is a good way to motivate them to help implement the plan.

Regular staff meetings that include an educational segment about some facet of fundraising and occasionally a motivational or inspirational guest speaker, in addition to staff updates on current projects, can help motivate staff to greatness.

One thing you need to understand going into this profession is that it is not a 9 to 5 job. meeting with volunteers, attending breakfast meetings, or just getting into the office early to organize your day before the phone calls and emails start arriving. Leave work at work, do not take it home or on vacation unless it is extremely critical. In some cases, it might be better to answer emails while on vacation rather than becoming stressed out by the sheer volume of email waiting at the office on your first day back at work.

But, as a true professional be careful to avoid thinking that you are indispensable and that you have to stay connected to the office at all times.
Loving this career often starts with volunteering in the area of development. If you do not enjoy volunteer fundraising, you probably won’t love it as a career. So if you are thinking about entering the profession, you may want to begin by volunteering to work on a special event, a phonathon, or a corporate appeal for a few nonprofits and see if you really do love fundraising. The same is true with development.

If you find a particular aspect of fundraising that really appeals to you, such as planned giving, major gifts, or grant writing, you should pursue that area. If you prefer being a generalist, you should look for a position as a development director in a small shop where you will get to do a variety of fundraising tasks. Finding your niche is critical to loving the work.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 2 years ago

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