by Ronald J. Meshanko, President, ERC
ERC Newsbriefs Excerpt, August 30, 1996

There are seven traits or qualities that every fund raiser needs to develop. Each of these cardinal virtues should exist in a good fund raising program:

  1. Soliciting. Strongly encourage donors and prospects to financially support your program by presenting an excellent giving opportunity with confidence. Don't beg.

  2. Gratefulness. Thank your donors in as many ways as possible. Remember, thanking is the key to receiving again. Don't let your agency be called an "ingrate".

  3. Planning. Have a written fund raising plan. Be prepared every time you meet a donor or prospect. Do your homework. Don't ad-lib.

  4. Investing. It takes money to make money. Be sure to invest enough money in your development program to insure the financial security of your agency. Don't be stingy.

  5. Personalizing. Don't be a fund raising automaton. Be as personable as possible with your donors. Establish commonality with them. Express yourself and your convictions about your programs to your donors in every fund raising letter, proposal, or personal interaciton. Don't be a robot or fall prey to automation.

  6. Optimism. Think big, but set attainable goals. Stress the success of your programs, not your financial distress. People support winners, not pessimists.

  7. Determining. Determine how much you should request from a donor or prospect by asking them "How much should I ask for?" Don't give in to using the "average" gift size listed in directories or multiplication table thinking (if we had 100 donors who gave us $1,000 each).
Be a winner - not a sinner. Avoid the seven deadly sins of fund raising: ad-libbing, begging, parsimony, ingratitude, automation, pessimism, and averaging.

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