Having a successful fundraiser on your team is a great feeling. These are the rock stars of the nonprofit world, but unlike the big-haired bands of old, they aren’t smashing guitars or getting their faces splashed on the front page of gossip magazines. Instead, they’re quietly, calmly, and creatively generating the funds you need to keep the doors open and the work moving towards fulfilling your organization’s mission.
What’s their secret? How do they work their magic? Here, we distill the five secrets of successful fundraisers.
5 Traits that Successful Fundraisers Have (and You Can Learn!)
You may think that successful fundraisers are born. But anyone can learn or embrace the characteristics that great fundraisers embody. Read through this list and see which ones you can add to your skill set.
- Curiosity – Great fundraisers remain curious about the world around them. This curiosity opens them to new possibilities, connections, and potential, which in turn leads to the creativity that’s needed to launch effective campaigns.
- Understanding of human behavior – One of the main traits of successful fundraisers is that they understand how the average person thinks and acts. This in-depth knowledge can be intuitive or acquired through reading, study, and experience. It leads them to develop campaigns that get responses because they understand the motivators and drivers of human behavior and can connect it to the cause supported by your organization.
- Insights into the target donor – Many people new to fundraising create campaigns based on their likes and dislikes. That can lead to mistaken messaging and poor response rates. Good fundraisers understand that they are different from the donors they approach. Most donors are in their 60’s and follow specific personality characteristics unique to a given nonprofit. Those who donate to animal charities may differ from those who support healthcare nonprofits, for example. Understanding the “end customer” is marketing-speak for knowing why your donors give and how to approach them so that they are likely to say “yes.”
- Data-driven mindset – While great fundraisers are also creative, they embrace a data-driven mindset and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and crunch the donor campaign data. The resulting facts are then used to fuel the next round of marketing. Data is used to support decisions and improve response rates.
- Networking – Great fundraisers are also good net-workers. They network with people both within the nonprofit world and those from the profit-driven business world. Thanks to this relentless networking, they have a large circle of colleagues and friends who can share advice and best practices. They absorb information from throughout their network and aren’t afraid to share their learning and understanding, too, to help a friend succeed.
But the Most Important Characteristic?
The most important characteristic of successful fundraisers isn’t one that can be taught or bought. It’s the love of the cause and a passion for fundraising.
These are the people who genuinely believe in the mission of the organization and who aren’t afraid to go the extra mile to support it. They have a genuine love of the fundraising world and embrace best practices in direct response marketing, direct mail marketing, advertising, and digital marketing to help them achieve their goals. They find joy in developing relationships with donors and sharing the mission to drive margin.
Successful fundraisers are worth every penny of their salary. They not only raise money, but they also lift spirits. Because of their dedication, others in the organization find themselves recruited into the fundraiser’s orbit. Fundraisers are the rock stars, but they are also the rock of any organization, creating the foundation from which margin flows and organizations can meet their objectives.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please at 206-605-3113 for more information.