What Are Fundraiser Skills? (With Tips For Improvement)
Updated 4 February 2023
Fundraiser skills help to raise money for an organisation's cause. These skills can help fundraisers improve their interpersonal abilities to convince patrons to donate to their campaigns. Learning about fundraising skills can help you determine how to collect funds for a charitable cause. In this article, we discuss what fundraiser skills are, provide a list of some of the top skills for fundraisers and explain how to improve your own.
What Are Fundraiser Skills?
Fundraiser skills are traits and abilities that help individuals raise money for a cause. These characteristics allow an individual working in fundraising to successfully persuade the public to donate. When applying for a job in fundraising, these professionals list these types of skills on their resumes to show potential employers their expertise in the industry. Some jobs that require fundraising skills include:
Examples Of Fundraiser Skills
Working in fundraising requires a combination of soft and technical skills, with traits similar to those in sales and marketing. Here are some examples of fundraising skills:
Since fundraisers work to build relationships with potential donors, it is important for them to possess good interpersonal skills. Effective interpersonal skills ensure that you are persuasive without being too assertive. This is particularly useful when you have a one-on-one fundraising meeting, although online and telephone fundraising can also benefit from the organiser's interpersonal skills. Building a good interpersonal rapport requires characteristics such as social skills and communication. Interpersonal skills also help to defend a cause passionately and receive more support. You can also use these skills to provide training and build relationships with volunteers.
Having a commitment to the organisation they serve and its cause can help fundraisers stay focused. Being committed to your work is a trait that helps you create higher-quality work as you care about its outcome. When you devote yourself to a fundraising initiative, it is easier to persuade others and help them understand why you are so passionate about the cause. This further inspires donors to contribute to the cause.
Fundraisers depend on donations, but it is important to conduct extensive and in-depth research to find donors. Performing thorough research can help to create a list of potential donors. You can then approach them with a convincing pitch about why they could donate to your cause. To maximise donations and add a personal touch, consider using donation software, such as Donorbox, to learn more about donors and their donation patterns, which can help you understand who might have an interest in your cause.
When reaching out to potential or past donors, fundraising professionals use various techniques. They also use technology to analyse and store donor data to help them with future campaigns. Some common uses of technology include email marketing, customer relationship management software and database management.
Similar to salespeople, those working in fundraising promote their events and fundraisers. This involves identifying their selling points and designing a fundraising campaign focused on them. Fundraisers use storytelling, pitches, cold calling and other tactics to highlight their organisation's cause and persuade clients to perform their call to action. As a fundraiser, you may also promote some of your events online or through social media platforms to increase reach and visibility.
Leadership abilities help a fundraiser advocate a cause. These professionals bring volunteers, team members and donors together to instil the organisation's mission and vision to direct efforts and motivate clients to support an overall goal. Leadership skills can also make you attractive to supervisors by showing that you are passionate about the company's goals.
Successful fundraisers use creativity when planning their fundraising campaigns. This helps them to engage supporters and overcome challenges that may arise. For instance, once a fundraiser's excitement slows down, these professionals may find new ways to interact with donors and recreate the excitement. Adapting and brainstorming ways to move forward can help fundraisers create profitable fundraising events. If you promote a cause on a social media platform, consider using eye-catching slogans, captions, infographics and media to capture people's attention.
Rejections by patrons can be discouraging, but successful fundraising professionals are always ready to move on and speak to new patrons to improve their chances of success. Being motivated can also help you inspire your team to feel confident even if all your plans do not turn out as expected. To boost your motivation, conduct team-building activities or discuss previous successful projects with peers.
How To Improve Fundraising Skills
Use these steps to improve your fundraising skills:
1. Build relationships
Having a solid network of meaningful connections can help you succeed in your fundraising initiatives. When donors are passionate about a cause, they are more likely to donate to the fundraiser. Your goodwill and reputation can encourage benefactors to support you.
To stay on good terms with patrons, you can create a list of your supporters and send them personalised messages at regular intervals. This keeps them updated about your latest projects. You may group them by their giving habits and prepare follow-up strategies for each group. You can also give them updates about how the organisation is utilising their funds so that they feel valued.
2. Stay updated with fundraising trends and techniques
A major part of fundraising involves appealing to donors. Hence, it is important to stay updated with different types of fundraising methods and strategies. Common fundraising methods include crowdfunding, auctions, online donations and peer-to-peer fundraising. Reading industry books, journals or other materials can also educate you about the different types of fundraising.
3. Get feedback
To understand and improve your fundraising skills, consider asking for feedback from colleagues and patrons. Getting feedback can help you understand your capabilities from a different view. This way, you can discover your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
4. Use creativity
Being creative in planning your campaigns can help you attract more supporters. Consider engaging in interactive experiences and communications to make the event exciting. For instance, you can announce a cricket match involving your guests and patrons or create a video to tell the stories of all the people who might profit from your fundraiser. You might also invite some of these people to interact with the patrons. This adds a personal touch and lets the donors know that they are lending money to a noble cause.
5. Work on your communication skills
It is easier to contact and build a good relationship with clients if you have good communication skills. For instance, while talking to a patron over a telephonic or video conference, it is important to convey all information clearly and politely while being thankful for their time. Being kind, thoughtful and respectful, both with team members and donors can help you excel in this field.
Fundraiser Skills In The Workplace
As a fundraiser, you can use your skills in the workplace in the following ways:
Raise awareness about charities and their work on the local and national levels. This includes talking to stakeholders and inspiring them to donate to the cause. You may also assist media professionals to cover these events.
Find ingenious ways to promote fundraising activities. Leverage online tools and social media platforms to reach out to maximum people. You may also require preparing marketing collateral such as blogs, brochures and flyers for fundraising events.
Develop and implement strategies for recruitment and development of supporters. With some experience, you can also recruit and manage volunteers to execute various functions within a fundraising event. They also oversee corporate fundraising, prepare annual budgets and review funding proposals before submission.
How To Highlight Fundraising Skills
Follow these steps if you want to highlight your fundraising skills during a job search:
1. Highlight your skills on the resume
Employers prefer candidates who can look after all aspects of a fundraising event. To highlight your capabilities as a fundraiser on the resume, focus on both your hard and soft skills. Further, consider quantifying your achievements through metrics and numbers to assimilate information easily. For instance, you may say that you raised ₹5,00,000 to help an NGO working with cancer patients or that you onboarded a team of 10 sales and marketing employees in your previous company.
Related: Skills Test: Definition And Examples
2. Mention your skills in the cover letter
A cover letter provides ample scope to talk about previous experiences and future goals that you might have missed on your resume. Consider mentioning one or two specific instances from prior work experience that highlight your fundraiser abilities. You can also provide references from former employers. Ensure the cover letter reads like a story so that recruiters understand your journey from start to present.
3. Talk about your skills during the interview
An interview is your final opportunity to convince employers that you have the required fundraising skills. If you are a fresher with little experience, consider referring to volunteering experiences. Prepare a list of questions with sample answers in advance and try to incorporate the major fundraiser skills in these responses to distinguish yourself from other candidates.
Please note that none of the organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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