“Donors don’t give to institutions. They invest in ideas and people in whom they believe.” – G.T Smith
The image of a fundraiser may take several forms, depending on your definition. Fundraising is extremely broad, covering areas such as direct marketing, individual giving, corporate partnerships, trust and foundations, legacies, events and more. Each of these requires a specific range of skills and experiences to excel, but across all these areas, there are a few core qualities you will need. Here are 3 qualities that make an effective fundraiser:
1. Personal Qualities
There is no hard and fast rule about educational qualifications for a career in Fundraising. While some organisations might welcome specific knowledge, such as international development, childcare or health, broader qualifications often stand to you. In terms of personal qualities required, a successful fundraiser is often a resilient soul, who can find the balance between leadership and teamwork, who enjoys engaging with people and can honestly identify with the cause they are working to support.
2. Communication Skills
Strong communication skills are key; your job is to persuade people that your cause is worthy of their support. Many fundraising roles are often combined with a more general communications brief for the organisation. Business development and sales skills can be useful to understand the process of engaging with prospective donors, as well and managing the relationship at all stages, not just at the time of asking. IT skills, especially with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are very useful, as well as being comfortable with the various MS Office tools.
3. Long-Term Thinking
Fundraising is a long-term activity, so the ability to think strategically and in terms of how to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships, is essential. Ad-hoc approaches to fundraising are rarely effective beyond the short-term. The ability to connect with other organisations’ that share your vision will be extremely beneficial to your long-term fundraising. Multi-tasking is also par for the course, so an ability to keep several plates spinning is advisable, whilst thinking of potential future fundraising opportunities.
Require assistance with your fundraising strategy?
Our Head of Fundraising Advisory Practice, Rob Foley, works with our clients to develop, review and implement fundraising strategies that help build sustainable, long-term growth. If your organisation is interested in developing your fundraising strategy further, please contact Rob directly.