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Qualities of a Good Fundraiser

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Recently someone asked me about what characteristics I look for in a strong fundraiser or fundraising team. I came up with seven that, to me, are universal for any great fundraiser to review and revisit regularly.

For each of these traits, feel free to rate yourself or your organization's fundraising culture on a scale of 1 (you do not possess or practice this trait) to 5 (you have and practice this trait effortlessly). If you have a total over 30, you may just have the potential to be a superstar fundraiser.

  1. Passionate – Share the excitement and joy you feel for your mission. Be sure to stop and celebrate the gifts with all and the impact they will make. Bring compassion and high energy to every conversation whether it is in person, on the phone, in an e‐mail, letters, or on site at events.
  2. Integrity – Do what you say and ensure that there is follow through on all requests and offerings to a supporter. Share facts of effective work, and be transparent about finances and goals.
  3. Authenticity – Say thank you and mean it. Follow through with actions that support your work ‐ be an advocate for your mission and an example for other funders.
  4. Vigilant – Ongoing, concerted effort to have relationship building be a priority for the organization and leadership. Share meeting notes and thoughts on next steps for stewardship and follow up.
  5. Extroverted – Every week reach out with at least one phone call to a donor or write a personal note card. Know that every "ask" and meeting is high theatre. Dress the role and act accordingly to the audience and setting.
  6. Systematic – Set up goals for number of meetings, phone conversations, asks per month, and have ongoing meetings to review accelerators and inhibitors to success.
  7. Optimistic – People invest in success and hope. Share stories of individuals and the impact of the organization on their lives.

Tuti B. Scott is the President of Imagine Philanthropy, an international consulting firm that supports funders in effective giving and guides organizations and nonprofit leaders seeking to enhance and energize their work.

Tuti Scott