Gift and Receive is an organization in Memphis that helps build long-term friendships between nonprofits and donors.
What Makes a Successful Fundraiser?
The list of qualities and principles to look for in a successful fundraiser can be endless. If you're fundraising, you continually have to read and educate yourself to meet the dual needs of the organization and the donor, to ensure all needs are met for all parties involved.
When considering the needs of your group, church, charity or organization, it is also important to know the principles of the person who will be tasked with doing the work.
The book Relationship Fundraising by Ken Burnett stresses the importance of building relationships between the organization and the supporter. Burnett also makes a reference to another book: Born to Raise by Jerold Panas. Both are excellent books and we use them as part of our growth and educational resources at Gift and Receive Fundraising in Memphis.
Gift and Receive Fundraising in Memphis has a group of principles upon which they operate. Our top 10 principles are:
- Honesty and Integrity
- Love for Others
- Listening Well
- Boundless Energy
- Eagerness to Work Hard
- Unwavering and Consistent
- High Expectations
- Motivating Others
1. Have Honesty and Integrity
Obviously the most important principle for a fundraiser is integrity. This is important on every level. Strong morale principles, and unselfishness are the foundation. All other principles build upon honesty. The fundraising profession has sustained somewhat of a negative wrap in some cases, even when there is no basis for it. Fundraisers must be honest in order to be successful' at the same time, the organizations must be honest too. Honest sharing and honesty makes a super team, and a super relationship.
2. Love Others
Having a heart for those who are being served is a tremendously valuable asset. It is sometimes easy to say how much you love people, and sometimes harder to make your love an actionable item. When you love others, and put them first, many other things will fall into place as the work is carried out. The fundraiser who puts love into action is a fundraiser who can influence, motivate, and inspire everyone around.
3. Be a Good Listener
The skill of listening must continually be developed by fundraisers. So many of the challenges being faced in the work of fundraising can be addressed and taking care of from the start with listening. Listening to the mission, the charity, and the needs of the organization, and also listening to the needs of the supporters, sponsors, and volunteers, makes a successful fundraiser.
4. Have Boundless Energy
Having the energy to see it all through is vital. Think of a shiny new vehicle with an empty gas tank. Vehicles are an amazing invention that many of us use daily. They are also great to use as analogies. It doesn't matter if you drive a Galaxy 500 or the newest Lexus on the market; if you run out of gas in either one, you can't continue the trip.
Having energy to start, run, and finish the trip- to see it through from start to finish is a very important principle. Boundless Energy is also contagious energy.
5. Be Eager to Work Hard
With starting at integrity, to loving and listening, and applying the energy required to make it through; Having that zeal & eagerness to get the work done is a whole lot easier. Fundraisers should be so eager to work, that it becomes natural to get up and face the task at hand with rigor, zest, and enthusiasm.
6. Be Unwavering and Consistent
Constant, dedicated, steadfast and enduring qualities are crucial in a fundraiser. Having the ability to be tireless and relentless from the start is the proper approach to your mission.
Being a salesperson is required as a fundraiser. In sales, you have to be ready to accept "NO" as an answer. Many times the answer isn't really no, it means you have to be consistent enough,to listen, love, and find out what the real answer is. Sometimes, you may have not given enough information for your audience to come to their proper and satisfactory conclusion. Once you have uncovered the real reasons, if the answer is still "NO," The no answer is still a good and acceptable answer. With unwavering consistence, you will get your yes answers in the midst of the "NO's"
7. Be Optimistic
While having the unwavering quality and principle, you need your fundraiser to always have a favorable view in all situations. This is extremely important.
Being positive and cheerful takes less energy than being pessimistic. In fact, when considering the task of a fundraiser, pessimism can easily cause the entire work to miss the mark and fall short. Optimism spreads and goes a long way. If you believe you can achieve it you will. If you believe you can't you won't.
8. Be Creative
The creative quality in the creative person is a valuable asset. Your fundraiser should think on his/her feet and have creative solutions that meet the needs of all parties. Connecting the Giver to the Receiver is an awesome task. The Mission has its needs, the supporter has needs as well. With a little creativity, the funds will be raised, the mission or project will be funded, the donor will become a valuable member of the organization, and "the flag will still be there." through the ups and downs of the group,the fundraiser, and the sponsor relationship.
9. Keep High Expectations
You have goals, plans, and much work to do. There is a ton of community work, ministry, and things to accomplish. Your expectations are high for your group. A successful fundraiser's expectations should be at the same high level. The fundraisers calculations and predictions should be realistic based on the specific organization, the means and the goal that is set to achieve; at the same time, The fundraiser must believe that what is expected is likely going to happen. .
10. Motivate Others
To drive, influence, and propel others is a tremendous asset in any field; especially for the fundraiser. There are so many steps in the process, something is bound to go wrong along the way. The honest fundraiser who loves others, and his/her work, has energy to share, and a zest for hard work will make raising the needed funds happen. With unwavering values, consistency and optimism, your project, or needs will be on the way to being met. The fundraiser's creative ways, ideas, and solutions to get the job done will make the job easier. The things that are expected to happen, will happen as your highly motivated fundraiser, motivates, his team, the staff, and all involved to reach beyond even the goal that is set is and expected.