Who Makes a Better Fundraiser: Introverts or Extroverts?
Development professionals come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Each professional is successful in their own way. They use their talents to the greatest degree possible for success. Depending upon the task at hand, the fundraiser constantly adapts to situations. I believe all of us have traits that are extroverted or introverted in nature. There are times I must be in a group and show my extroverted side.
There are other times I want to be on a mountaintop one million miles away from people to recharge. Our jobs are very complex, and each day all of us are placed in a variety of settings. Have you thought about yourself? Are you an extrovert or introvert? How can you use your personality more effectively in your job?
Who makes a better fundraiser: An introvert or an extrovert?
According to Targeting Fundraising Talent, you must understand what the differences are in an introverted fundraiser and extroverted fundraiser. An introvert is thought-oriented, has values depth in knowledge, promotes meaningful interactions and needs recharged through time alone. An extrovert is action-oriented, has values breadth in knowledge, loves frequent interactions and is recharged through time with others.
The advantages with donors being an introvert are:
• Cultivating Close Relationships
• Connecting with hard-to-reach prospects and donors
• Discussing complex projects and ideas in depth
• Soliciting strategic and ambitious gifts
• Building volunteer strategies.
The advantages with donors being an extrovert are:
• Discovering new audiences
• Sharing enthusiasm with engaged constituents
• Conversing on a wide variety of philanthropic priorities
• Soliciting with strict timelines
• Fielding volunteer ideas and suggestions
According a blog titled “Pros and Cons of Being an Introvert or Extravert on the Job,” extroverts bring personality and energy to the job.
The positive traits of extroverts are:
• Outgoing, friendly and cheerful
• Like to build organization and develop people
• Fluent communicators
• Like teamwork, will involve people
• Good in all kinds of selling
The negative traits of extroverts are:
• Wanting to have the last comment
• Concerned with how others respond to them
• Tend to think they’ve told you something they haven’t
• Not good listeners
The positive traits of introverts are:
• Able to process large amounts of information
• Good listeners
• Think before speaking
• Are comfortable working on projects/tasks alone
• Do not need external rewards to keep focused
The negative traits of introverts are:
• Challenged by back-to-back meetings
• Need quiet space to think and work
• Do not seek out collaboration
• Not comfortable with small talk/office banter
In an article titled “Do Introverts or Extroverts Make Better Fundraisers,” Rich Brown said that introspective people will excel at major gifts or planned giving, their minds are equipped to focus on one donor at a time and they connect emotionally and they feel a donor’s needs and wants, while extroverts work a room in magical ways and inspire boards or volunteers to reach new heights. Brown doesn’t suggest that an introvert is a better fundraiser than an extrovert, but does note that professionals should understand themselves, have self-awareness and use adaptive powers when necessary.
In the article titled “Are You An Introvert or An Extrovert? What It Means for Your Career,” the author cites Carl G. Jung’s statement that there is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert—because introverts and extroverts are the extremes of the scale. The rest of us are ambiverts who exhibit a balance of extroverted and introverted tendencies. A study by Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” found that ambiverts perform better in sales than introverts or extroverts. The study found that ambiverts actually closed 24 percent more sales, using various approaches to close sales.
The point of this story is fundraisers deal with a variety of people with various personalities. You need to know yourself and when you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert. Each day I definitely employ a combination of all three traits. I cannot stand being in one particular state for long. The older I get the more I need to watch my energy and focus. I agree with Brown in the fact that we must use adaptive powers when necessary. Who makes a better fundraiser, an introvert or extrovert? I would say an ambivert because they utilize the best of all worlds. If you understand yourself. you will better understand others.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.