CDE project 14: appen­dix 1

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
April 27, 2017

The full lists of attributes of a donor-focused fundraiser drawn from the surveys and focus groups we conducted.

  • People skills
  • Cause driven
  • Adaptability/agility
  • Listening and responding to donor needs
  • Genuine/authentic/integrity
  • Quick thinking
  • Drive and resilience
  • Well organised
  • Technically skilled
  • Numerate
  • Empathetic
  • Curious
  • Networking skills
  • Good team worker
  • Analytical
  • Marketing skills
  • Creative.

The full list of attributes for specific fundraising techniques drawn from our survey and focus group.


  • Connection with people as individuals
  • Passion
  • Multi-tasker
  • Thinks on their feet.


  • Awareness of statistics
  • Understands donor groups
  • Knows how to direct a message.


  • Tenacity
  • Energy
  • Rapport-building skills
  • Finding common ground
  • Speaks the donor’s language. 

Trusts and foundations

  • Writing skills
  • Can interpret scientific reports
  • People skills do matter as there is a potential crossover to major donors
  • Attention to detail
  • Highly organised
  • Research skills
  • Happy to work alone
  • Clear thinking
  • Process skills.


  • Ability to handle sensitive issues skilfully
  • Calm
  • Represents the organisation well
  • Compassion
  • Has a strong moral compass.

Supporter care/admin

  • Loves supporters
  • Is an advocate for them
  • Shows empathy.


  • Resilience
  • Networking skills
  • Team workers
  • Customer service
  • Appreciative.


  • Understanding of digital audience and channels
  • Marketing capability
  • Financial literacy
  • Agility to adapt to an ever changing market.

Major donors

  • Rapport-building skills
  • Establishing common ground
  • Speaks the donor’s language
  • Outgoing
  • Confident
  • Charisma
  • Gravitas
  • Wants to be with people.
  • Happy to work the room.

Click on the image below to view project 14 in full - PDF format

About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 14 summary: getting the right people as fundraisers

This project will consider the attributes that donors expect to see in the fundraisers they deal with and how recruiting specifically with those attributes in mind will significantly improve the donor experience.

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CDE project 14 section 1: our approach and putting the principles and actions into practice

The following are examples of some of our recommendations and observations in action from the people we met, current contacts and clients, and what we have seen across the sector.

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CDE project 14: appendix 2 and 3

Examples of donor-centred behaviour in fundraisers as described to us by those we interviewed.

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CDE project 14 appendix 4: insight profiling

Insight Discovery is a model that measures behavioural preferences. It uses a system of four colours to describe different styles of behaviour.

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