Professional fundraisers go by many different titles: resource mobilization expert, development officer, partnerships coordinator, outreach specialist, communications liaison, etc. Despite the many titles and many ways to raise funds for NGOs, there are some things all great fundraisers do very well. Here are 3 habits of successful fundraisers.
1. Talking to everyone
Some may think it is important to have friends in high places to be successful. While there is truth to this, professionals also know that networking horizontally is just as or even more important than chasing after high-ranking individuals. Whether fundraisers are attending a conference or strolling around a park, they are able to start a conversation about their work. Fundraisers know that any person they meet maybe someone or know someone with connections. Or may become a great connection in the future. And even if they are not, so what? Conversations don’t cost anything and can still be an excellent use of time even if there is no direct result.
2. Reading the acknowledgments
Good fundraisers quickly learn to always look for who is getting and who is receiving funding. They in part do this by reading anything with the words “our supporters”, “list of partners”, “acknowledgments to”, etc. When fundraisers go to museums, their eyes are first drawn to the plaque with the list of supporting members. When they read field reports, they first look for who sponsored the research. And when they are invited to events, they have to check out the media and advertising partnerships information. Even when they are introduced to a new non-profit, they want to know who is on the board. This habit is so ingrained it is hard to break even in their free time!
3. Giving thanks
Fundraisers are not shy about saying “thank you.” They know that giving thanks is a simple way to make others feel good about their actions. Fundraisers thank the people who donate, volunteer, “like” their posts, attend their events, give them tips. Professional fundraisers even thank people who reject their funding requests or give negative feedback. Showing appreciation even for the little things is very important in building connections and working with partners.
All of these habits of successful fundraisers may seem basic. And yes, they are indeed straightforward habits which most people can learn. However, they also take a long time to develop fully and come off as natural. So start practicing today!