This post is Part 3 in a series about fundraisers that stick. Click here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4.
A fundraiser who remains committed to your mission and the work of fundraising will be passionate and precise, and he or she will also have personality. There is a reason why this is the third thing being discussed; too often, we find someone with personality and assume he or she will be “good with donors” because of natural people skills. But it takes more than that to be a fundraiser who is successful over the long-term.
A personable fundraiser will be able to get along with almost anyone, from the donor who always wants more details to the one who just wants to hear stories of impact. He or she will be able to move through a room and quickly determine just what will excite someone about the mission. And when the fundraiser is talking to a donor, that donor will feel like the most important person in the universe.
But personality goes beyond face-to-face. A fundraiser with personality will be able to write thank you notes, emails or letters that have heart and speak to the donor’s interests and needs. The fundraiser will be someone people respect and want to be around – important qualities for recruiting, managing and motivating volunteers.
A fundraiser with personality will love what he or she is doing and be almost contagious when it comes to getting others to love it, as well. He or she will tell the same story over and over, always with integrity and always with enthusiasm. Every gift he or she successfully secures will be accepted with the same feeling of gratitude and excitement as the first gift.
Fundraising guru Jerold Panas identified 10 things that identify a successful fundraiser; these are: impeccable integrity, good listener, ability to motivate, hard worker, concern for people, high expectations, love the work, high energy, perseverance and presence. That’s a high bar for anyone to achieve. But when it comes to the person who will be asking others to support your mission, would you want to skimp on any of those ten?
Fundraising has changed significantly over the years, but many of the basics remain the same – we have to ask for a gift to receive it, and a donor has to believe in the mission to support it. A fundraiser with personality will consider serving donors his or her high calling.