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Five Essentials of Fundraising

This article has been condensed from a post that was originally published on the LinkedIn Nonprofit blog in April 2021. The content resonated with me and is highly relevant to our work here at Projet Communautaire de Pierrefonds.

Fundraisers play a critical role in their organizations. Without them, nonprofits would not be able to run all their programs or help as many people as they do. But the job of the fund-raiser became especially challenging in 2020, forcing many to try new approaches and learn new skills. Here are five key qualities fundraisers will need to be successful in 2021 and beyond.

1. Be a strong listener

Since fundraisers deal with people every day, they need to be good communicators. And what skill is at the heart of effective communication? Listening. When fundraisers are strong listeners, they’re better able to pick up on subtle cues that can inform their approach and lead to better outcomes. This skill can also help build prospects’ trust, ensuring they feel heard and understood—and making them more likely to want to help.

2. Be a great storyteller

The best fundraisers are master storytellers, able to confidently weave narratives that help prospects understand your organization’s mission, see how they can fit into it, and feel compelled to act. Since fundraising is becoming increasingly digital, today’s fundraising professionals need to be comfortable telling stories across multiple mediums—from video calls to emails to live streamed events. While the format is changing, the foundations are the same, signalling that this skill will never go out of style.

3. Be data-driven

Paying attention to the numbers is incredibly important for fundraisers. By looking at data like historical giving amounts, they’re able to make more informed and strategic decisions to drive even greater success. Instincts can take fundraisers far, but data can take them even further. Developing your team’s data fluency will help them keep one eye on the big picture, while also providing them with more tools to improve their day-to-day approach.

4. Be organized

Leads to research. Prospects to follow up with. Relationships to deepen. Fundraisers tend to have a lot of balls in the air at any given time, making it critical for them to stay organized. When a fundraiser is highly organized, they’re unlikely to miss important touch points with supporters and prospects. This can increase donor satisfaction and ensure no one feels forgotten.

5. Be adaptable

Even before the pandemic, the role of the fundraiser was constantly evolving. From the communication methods they use to the strategies that are most effective for engaging modern donors, fundraisers need to be comfortable with change if they want to keep supporting their organizations. Modern technology is only accelerating the pace of change, making now the perfect time to help your team refine their skills in this area.

These traits were always valuable for fundraisers, but they’re more important now than ever. Developing these skills will pay off for years to come—while showing your team, partners and donors that you’re invested in the organization's growth and development.

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