The best fundraiser in the world isn't just a salesman. He has developed the best skills and habits to ensure success. What are these skills?

Somewhere out there, there exists a person who is the best fundraiser in the world. We may not be able to quantify this person’s success, but in our hypothetical omnipotence, we are able to identify exactly who it is.

If society treated fundraising the same way it treats basketball, this person would be the LeBron James (or, perhaps, the Serena Williams) of fundraising.  

This person isn’t just a salesman. This person is the whole package. There is a thoughtfulness and intentionality to each decision. There is thoroughness to ensure proper execution. There is follow-up so that each milestone is maximized.

Let’s say that, like with sports, this person’s actions were televised for all to see. 

A camera crew would follow this fundraiser around, capturing practice habits, planning sessions, staff meetings, donor solicitations, and post-event activity. 

What do you think we’d see? What does the best fundraiser in the world’s schedule look like?

I can’t tell you for sure, but I would bet the farm that it would include these traits:

  • A clear list of goals for the day, week, month, and quarter
  • Designated time to properly prepare for each donor meeting
  • An opportunity to practice and hone a pitch that is tailored to that particular donor
  • A system to properly prospect new donors
  • Designated time to follow-up with current donors, strengthening relationships even when no money is at stake
  • A way to capture impact stories to share with donors
  • Time to learn from experts in the field
  • Time for self-care

You are probably not the best fundraiser in the world. You may not do the things in this list or even attempt them. But that’s the beauty of growth; it’s not all or nothing. 

Pick one fundraising practice that you want to improve and do it just a little bit better than you did yesterday. Make a habit out of it by literally blocking off time on your calendar for it, breaking it down into actionable tasks, and holding yourself accountable toward it.

You may not be able to call every donor in your database and thank them for their gifts. But there is no reason why you can’t choose just one of them to call today. 

It’s practice for you, and it would fill the donor with pride and connectedness. 

Take one step forward today on a never-ending journey in pursuit of fundraising excellence. The ROI will pay dividends for years to come. 

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