8 Habits of Successful Fundraisers

8ballWhat is it that successful fundraisers do, that helps them raise more money for the mission? Check out these eight habits of successful fundraisers and find ways to incorporate them into your routine.

  1. Thank donors daily: Don’t let a day pass you by in which you do not thank a donor. Long term success with fundraising results from growing a base of committed donors.  Providing a prompt and meaningful thank you to each and every donor will strengthen donors’ commitments to the mission.  So pick up the phone, write a note, or visit, just be intentional about building a habit of thanking donors daily.
  2. Stay connected to the mission: Fundraising is hard work. It is important to remember why you are working so hard to raise money. So stay connected to the mission – the reason you started raising money for the cause. Visit a program site, talk with program beneficiaries, volunteer for a mission –focused activity. However you do it, find a way to stay connected to the mission.
  3. Know the top donors: Every organization has top donors, and every successful fundraiser knows his or her organization’s top donors. Identify the donors who are the most loyal and have made the largest gifts to your organization. Get to know them, and continue to strengthen their relationship with the organization.
  4. Ask for donor input: Remember that no matter how fabulous you are, you do not know everything. It is important to ask for input from donors. Whether you are looking for guidance on fundraising strategies, strategic decisions or challenging situations, remember to ask your donors for their input.
  5. Create a plan and work the plan: A fundraising goal, without a fundraising plan, is just a wish.  Successful fundraisers establish a plan and then implement the strategies in the plan. Establish a fundraising plan to help you stay on track, and outline the path for successful fundraising.
  6. Listen to donors: When meeting with a donor, the most successful fundraisers talk less and listen more. They listen to understand the donor’s passions and interests. This enables you to personalize the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of the donor.
  7. Give generously: Successful fundraisers are advocates for philanthropy. By giving generously, successful fundraisers are able to participate in the philanthropic process as a donor. Celebrate the joy of giving and feel the excitement of a donor by personally making a charitable contribution to a cause important to you.
  8. Enter notes in database: Even with busy schedules and urgent needs, successful fundraisers always make time to enter information into the donor database. A donor database is only as good as the information put into it. Recognizing the need to enter information about donors’ interests and engagement with the organization helps successful fundraisers personalize and tailor communications with donors. Make the time to get the information out of your head and into the donor database.

Habits develop over time. Although it may be impractical to establish all of these habits overnight, strive to put these habits in place so that you raise more money for the mission.


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About Dr. Sarah Wolin Mackey

Putting theory into practice at nonprofit organizations.
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