What It Takes to be a Fundraiser
For the last several days, I have been working on developing a course for a university offering a certificate program in nonprofit management. I've been focusing on the mechanics of fundraising -- for example, how to determine the right amount to ask, how to market planned giving, and how to write a grant proposal.
But as we all know, fundraising is about more than just strategy. Here are some of the important things I look for in a fundraiser.
Do you genuinely care -- about your donors, and about the cause you are raising money for? We've all experienced from time to time a person who you can tell really, genuinely cares about his or her profession. Perhaps it's the car mechanic who goes out of his way to wipe a minute speck of grease off the door handle; or the restaurant manager who comes over to thank us for coming in, asks how we liked our dinner, and listens to our response. As a fundraiser, do you view donors as a means to an end or as wonderful partners who brighten your day? And are you passionate about the difference you are making by going to work every day?
Do you go out of your way to experience your program in action every so often so you can understand it better? Do you wonder what would happen if you changed the teaser on the carrier envelope or called a donor just to say "thank you"? Do you look at the past results and dream about ways you can improve them and therefore be able to do more good? A successful fundraiser isn't resting on his or her last fiscal year's accomplishments. Instead, he or she is mentally exploring the next opportunity to do even better.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.