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 #53 - Great Fundraisers have the Desire to Win


In today’s world, to say “impossible” always puts you on the losing side.

Verities #52 - Seeking Perfection May Not Produce Happy Results


There is a significant difference between striving for excellence and attempting perfection. With the proper attitude and determination, the first is attainable, gratifying, and healthy. The latter is virtually impossible and frustrating. Perhaps even neurotic. It also happens to be an extraordinary waste of time.

Verities #51 - You are Hard to Please


You are not easily satisfied. Only the very best will do.

Verities #50 - It Must Benefit the Donor


Donors give to what they want to give to. It may not be what you want.

Verities #49 - You Pull Up the Roots to See if the Flowers are Still Growing


In fundraising, patience is not necessarily a virtue. You are seldom satisfied with the progress.

Verities #48 - The Successful Fundraisers Have Focus


To them, the definition of focus is knowing exactly what they want to be today, tomorrow, and the end of the fiscal year. And the future.

Verities #47 - Embrace Mistakes


As successful as they are, the great fundraisers seek men and women to pattern their life and work after. They search for role models.

Verities #46 - Common Sense is a Prime Requisite


There is a major difference between the non-achiever and the peak performer. It’s common sense.