What's Your Fundraising Superpower?
My friend Melissa excels at upgrading mail donors to support her mid-level monthly giving program. Another friend, Mark, always manages to get even the toughest donor to laugh. I think of these traits as their special fundraising superpowers.
With spring right around the corner, it's a great time to dust off your fundraising superpower. You have one. Stop thinking you don't. There's no kryptonite here. In fact, I believe most fundraisers have many superpowers and work hard juggling them as they work to put their donors, partners and funders first.
Maybe you're faster than a speeding bullet as you follow up with your donors and respond to their queries and questions. For some, doing that can be the hardest thing, but not for you. As soon as an email comes in or a voicemail is left, you’re replying and getting in touch to offer a way for your supporter to engage more with your brand and critical mission work.
Perhaps your storytelling is more powerful than a locomotive, and you excel at telling your organization's story and conveying impact to attract new supporters to care. You can even make a reel or TikTok talking about your mission on the first try. Putting pen to paper is easy for you and there is never a case of writer’s block when it comes to thanking a donor or sharing exactly how their time and support made a tangible and lasting difference.
It could be that you’re always willing to leap tall buildings in a single bound to attend a donor event. You can’t wait to get in there and make important connections. You’re even willing to pass the hors d’oeuvres if needed. Maybe you’re still doing only hybrid or virtual events; that’s OK. You’re still one of the first to sign into Zoom and patiently wait to hear the chime as more people join. You help people feel comfortable when they walk into a real or virtual room with strangers and, after some time, because of you, they all leave as friends.
Take a few minutes now to think about your unique superpower. Really think about it. There's no right or wrong answer nor any limits on what it can be. It might even be something that feels silly to say, and that's OK. Maybe it's even something that you do or bring to your fundraising team that others do not. Don't feel your superpower has to be or look similar to how others on your team approach fundraising. Remember, the more variety and diversity on a team, the stronger the team. Whatever you do naturally and love to do with your donors is your superpower.
Now, think about how you can hone your superpower and how you can harness it to work harder for you and your organization's mission. Is it a skill that makes sense to train more of your team to embrace? What superpowers do your team members have that can benefit your work with donors, too? No matter the superhero movie or comic book you read or refer to, getting stronger around the unique thing only you can do is always a central theme.
With all that’s happening in the world today, your superpower will likely bring more comfort and connection to your donors so don't be shy about doubling down on it. No costume needed. Just work to embrace your superpower more. And the next time you see your donor and deliver your most true authentic self, you’ll likely be able to build an even stronger relationship together.
Sue Citro is the chief experience officer at Best Friends Animal Society and is responsible for how the development, digital, marketing communications and brand experience teams collaborate and work in new ways to bring more people into Best Friends’ lifesaving work. Before joining Best Friends, Sue led new digital expansions for The Nature Conservancy in Asia and Latin America. She started her career working at Peace Corps headquarters, followed by time at a direct mail agency and then consulting in the digital fundraising space with nonprofits large and small.
Sue holds a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University and lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Jeremy, and 103 lb. rescued dog, "Little" Luca.