Fundraising VeritiesWhat Makes a Great Fundraiser?

Founder and Executive Partner Jerry Panas gives us his treasured insights on what makes philanthropy work with a series he calls, What Makes a Great Fundraiser. Jerry gives us his 70 Verities from his best selling book, Born to Raise.

The Verities

Is there a “fundraising type”? Outgoing, people-oriented, backslapping, extremely well organized, goal oriented, brilliant. This magnificent creature probably doesn’t exist.

It’s really hard, perhaps impossible, to know what makes an ideal fundraiser. If you were designing the perfect fly-catcher, you probably wouldn’t design it to look like a frog!

I interviewed nearly 50 men and women I consider to be among the greatest in the country— each, the ultimate fundmeister. They are all winners.

blue rule

Verities #69 - Listen Carefully


You will hear a gift. You perhaps know the definition of an anagram. It means two words that have different meaning but contain precisely the same letters.

Verities #68 - The Work Burns Like Fire in Their Bones


There must be a flaming commitment to the mission of the organization. But more than that, it is an absolute love affair for the work itself.

Verities #67 - Getting “Yes”


The successful fundraiser has a way of getting “yes” for an answer— at times even before the question is asked. It’s the vision and the passion, that’s what motivates the gift. It’s the spark which ignites into a mighty flame.

Verities #66 - Long Tenure in a Position Pays Off


The great fundraisers I interviewed and all those I know who are successful— do not jump from job to job. They stay at their institution.

Verities #65 - Luck Favors the Prepared Mind


Jeffrey Blum wrote a fascinating book, “How to Get Lucky.” He points out that luck can be made to happen. As Louis Pasteur said, “Luck favors the prepared mind.”

Verities #64 - The Ten Criteria for Success


David Ogilvy is considered the High Priest of advertising. He developed a list of what he considers to be the most important factors in successful people.

Verities #63 - Passion Rules the Day


For the successful ones, their work and life excites them. And it shows.

Verities #62 - Generalists Rule the World


The successful fundraisers have great regard for specialists in the field. It is understood how important these men and women are to an effective development office.