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Professional Fundraising Certificate Program

What Does It Take to Be a Successful Fundraiser?

Lou Lataif, former Dean of Questrom School of Business (previously the School of Management) at Boston University, has shared a few tips—which we have expanded upon relative to the field of fundraising.

Be passionate!

If you believe in a cause, it is easy to talk about it. Your prospects will be unlikely to give to a cause that does not excite the fundraiser.

Promise to improve the quality of life.

It is better to give than to receive, if you are making the world a better place.

Cultivate relationships.

Learn as much as you can about your prospects, both through research and talking with them. Establish a bond with your donors and you establish a relationship for life.

Develop a thick skin.

Be prepared to be turned down more often than having your proposals accepted.

Be positive.

People want to support winners. They want their philanthropic investments to “pay off.”

Be sensitive to different cultures.

Do your research and realize that different cultures have different norms. Prospects will expect you to understand how they approach philanthropy.

Be an optimist and a realist.

Be optimistic and, at the same time, realistic. There are rarely any shortcuts to securing a gift.

Frank White, Instructor, Boston University Professional Fundraising Program