Intro­duc­ing: the verities

Written by
Jerold Panas
August 01, 2013
Jerold Panas is a long-time hero of mine, ever since I saw him at my first ever AFP (then NSFRE) conference in San Francisco back in the early 1990s. He is a great writer and has authored many influential, even seminal, books. I quote him all the time in my seminars.
To publish a series of his ‘verities’ that we can make available to the fundraising world...well, that’s almost too good to be true. One Jerry (Huntsinger) is great. Two Jerrys seems almost greedy! Particularly when the second is Panas.

Ken Burnett.

Now over to the author:

What makes a great fundraiser?

Of my own books, Born to Raise is one of my favourites. In it I write about the attributes, personal traits, skills and talents that make a great fundraiser. Not a fundraising manager, but someone who manages a staff and development department: they aren’t the same.

I wanted to answer the question: is there a ‘fundraising type’? Outgoing, people-oriented, backslapping, extremely well-organised, goal-oriented, brilliant. This magnificent creature probably doesn’t exist. It’s really hard, perhaps impossible, to know what makes an ideal fundraiser.

What are the secrets, the mysteries? What profound bits of wisdom explain why one person racks up one fundraising success after another, while someone else lives out a humdrum career and existence? Why do some simply never make it?

Here’s a quick and easy explanation that seems to sum it up. Success takes common sense, the ability to communicate effectively and easily, the talent to motivate people, a good memory and the hunger to succeed.

The craving to succeed, the drive and determination to win, may be the most important of all.

I spent a day interviewing 50 great fundraisers – with a few, several days. I have been around the slippery, greased track for many years – and have worked directly, one to one, with probably close to a thousand men and women in the field.

What I offer here are some observations and findings about fundraising and fundraisers – the verities of our profession. Canons to work by, tenets you can count on. These are truths and principles that will assure you are the best you can be.

Here they are, the verities: each important, many a virtual strike of lightning. 

About the author: Jerold Panas

Jerold Panas has been professionally involved in fundraising for over 40 years. He combines his understanding and experience with a special talent for strategic planning, major gifts and volunteer development.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars and a regular contributor to professional journals. Dr Panas is regarded as an author of particular note and his books are considered amongst the most significant in the field.

In 2013, he received the coveted lifetime achievement award for his contribution to philanthropy and fundraising. In 2011, the Cultural Office of Mexico cited him for his contribution to the nation’s philanthropy.

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