7 Qualities That Make a Great Fundraiser

Something showed up in one of my social media feeds the other day—an article on the qualities that make a good person, well, good.

As I read through the list—honesty, compassion, generosity, respect—I started to think about the characteristics that make a good fundraiser. Or even a great fundraiser. In the 20+ years I’ve been in the industry, I’ve been fortunate to meet and build relationships with some that are absolutely top-notch and wildly successful. I’ve also worked with fundraisers who I have witnessed grow in their roles and flourish as their careers progress.

Thinking about what I know and what I’ve seen, seven qualities of great fundraisers stand out to me in particular. You certainly don’t have to have all seven to succeed, but I do think the more you have, the more success will come your way.

You’re social.

You like people and like being around people. Social time charges you up. You can strike up a conversation with anyone about almost anything. You have a smile and a manner that makes people comfortable.

You’re a good listener. 

Even though you’re social, you don’t dominate the scene. You encourage others to talk and share their stories. You listen to learn, not just to respond. Others feel heard and appreciated around you.

You’re passionate.

When you talk about something you love, your passion shines through. It’s infectious to those around you. You believe deeply in anything you do. You focus on what can be rather than what is. Your enthusiasm makes things happen.

You’re curious.

You love learning. You know a little bit about everything and a lot about some things. You love discovering the “first few facts” about any new subject.

You’re conscientious.

You never forget a name or miss an appointment. You fulfill your promises. People know they can count on you.

You’re emotionally intelligent.

You know how to read the room. You are adept at picking up on nonverbal signals like body language and facial expressions and you know how to respond to them appropriately.

You’re grateful.

You feel a deep sense of thankfulness in life, and you take the time to genuinely express it to those around you. You are personal and authentic in your gratitude.

What do you think? Do these qualities describe the type of fundraiser you want to be—the type you are? Did I miss anything essential? Let me know in the comment section below.

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