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What is the DNA of a great fundraiser?

2 Comments Fundraising   (on 4th March, 2013 08:00 PM)
I often get asked; what does it takes to be a great fundraiser? What are the characteristics of a great fundraiser? Are they naturally talented or man-made? What do they eat for their breakfast? And so on...

I am a community fundraiser (since 2003) and have also seen many fundraisers from various charities ‘in action’, some delivering mediocre results and others with mighty fundraising. So what makes an ordinary person a mightiest and one of the most powerful fundraiser in the non-profit industry? An indefatigable fundraiser? Always winning the campaigns, securing large gifts, inspiring the audience and assuring the perpetuity of his institution.

My answer to the above questions is always in three words; simple yet very powerful words; Passion, Perseverance and Listening- the DNA of a great fundraiser.


The high achievers probably succeed because they are single-mindedly passionate and committed to their objectives. They are normally labelled as ‘workaholics’. They seem to enjoy the stress of coping with difficulties. They are full of energy and passion and believe in ‘all things are possible’ philosophy. They all know some things are difficult before they become easy. It is their inner drive and tremendous amount of energy that keeps them going. They understand that all things can be accomplished with positive and optimistic thoughts, spending time in the surrounding s of the good and learned people, acknowledging the skills and the impact of technology backed up with the proper drive and determination.


Perseverance is very important to all great fundraisers. They stay focused at things; whether it’s a new technology, a new technique or ‘trick of the trade’. They keep working at them. They never get bored. I know some people can be enthusiastic about their work for a while, may be a year or two and then the passion or the drive level drops. They lose interest and give up on trying new initiatives or different methods. Well not the great fundraisers.  They stay enthusiastic about their work for years and years. They don’t easily quit. They pursue the objectives, no matter what the obstacles. They pursue, persist, persevere and they always win.

In today’s world, nothing stays the same very long. Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. Persistence pays off. It is one factor that is certain to lead to success.


Most of the time in fundraising, the work involves either listening to someone or someone else listening to the fundraisers. All great fundraisers take time to listen. They all make ‘active listening’ a policy. They listen attentively to the ideas and recommendations, from colleagues and from their supporters. They focus on what is being said. They value the importance of building an emotional bond with people. They constantly listen to the messages coming from ‘the playing field’; they learn, unlearn and re-learn. They have the ability to shift their game plan and expect the unexpected and always ready to change the plan. They apply certain skills that are acquired through either experience or training. (I think I will write a separate blog on the process of listening in the near future). Remember in the business of fundraising, if you fail to hear and understand the message, the results can be very costly. Therefore the skill of listening becomes an essential tool for all great fundraisers.

Enjoy fundraising...

Leave Comments

Haroon Mota Haroon Mota on 04-Mar-2013 03:12 PM
Please LISTEN to me because I have a PASSION for fundraising for great causes. I'm running the London Marathon next month InshaAllah for Islamic Relief's Water4Life Campaign. Running 26.2 miles is no easy challenge. Last year's run was torture and I'm sure it will be the same this year, but insha Allah my PERSEVERANCE will pay off and pull me through the miles. In order for me to do this, I really need you to visit to sponsor me :)
Habib Malik Habib Malik on 04-Mar-2013 03:22 PM
I will do Haroon and wish you all the best.