Ver­i­ty 14: you have a qual­i­ty of leadership

Written by
Jerold Panas
March 10, 2014

Something quite distinctive is in evidence in everyone who is successful in fundraising. There is a special quality of leadership.

You sense it, you somehow see it, you can almost feel it. It is kindred to the characteristic of ‘presence’, but it’s really more than that. Everyone I interviewed spoke about it.

Father Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA, came as close as ‘ll tell you what I feel leadership is all about. As far as I’m concerned, I bring a vision of where I want to go and I am able to communicate it. That’s what it’s all about.

‘I think that’s it. Having a great vision and being able to communicate it. That’s what it’s all about. Whatever it is that I seem to do, and I’m not certain what that is, it does seem to say: “follow me”.

‘You’ve got to lead the way and take the action. If you want to attract volunteers and dollars you have to exhibit a quality of leadership – and people will be attracted to you.

‘I am convinced that donors like to put their money on people and institutions that they really believe in. I somehow communicate a sense of leadership and people are willing to follow me. I do not say this in any boastful way. It just seems to be what happens.’

The successful fundraisers are leaders. They motivate people to climb fences they never thought possible. The leader keeps raising the bar – and somehow others manage to reach it.

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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