May 29, 2013

What are the Best Characteristics of Successful Fundraisers?

By: Lisa Hazlett

Last time, we discussed how development is changing. This week, I’ll talk about the best characteristics of successful fundraisers.

While there are certainly techniques and tricks of the trade that fundraisers use, the most valuable skills that a fundraiser possesses are not learned in a college class. Successful fundraisers are passionate about their beliefs and have a true desire to correct a problem. And they have the ability to passionately convey that problem and its solution to someone who can invest the financial resources to make it happen.

This shared conviction between fundraiser and donor becomes the foundation from which they will build a long-lasting relationship that will be sustained through their mutual interests and desire to correct a problem. This knowledge is both powerful and enabling, and the insights that donors share with fundraisers create opportunities for stronger relationships. In turn, these relationships provide donors with the confidence to continue investing in the solution.

As it has been for a very long time, the frantic search continues for that dreamy fundraising ideal—an abundance of gifts to meet budget requirements with a minimum investment of time, talent, and energy. And despite lofty efforts to harness it, no magic formula has ever been devised to transform a fervent, even desperate, wish into instant results. But new technologies are enabling fundraisers to continuously rethink the ways in which they communicate with donors, and the sky is the limit.

Fundraising in the world of ideas is an exciting and meaningful career. No other position within a nonprofit organization offers the diversity, responsibility, and immediate satisfaction that successful fundraisers experience. Fundraisers in the liberty movement have the additional benefit of being actively engaged in protecting and advancing freedom and the pleasure of fostering and building relationships with those who can and do make a difference through their generosity.

Lisa Hazlett is executive director at Friends of UFM, Inc., a not-for-profit foundation based in the United States that raises awareness and funds for the students, programs, instruction, and facilities of Universidad Francisco Marroquín. This post is part of the Institute for Humane Studies Guide to Public Policy Careers.