Fundraising VeritiesWhat Makes a Great Fundraiser?

Founder and Executive Partner Jerry Panas gives us his treasured insights on what makes philanthropy work with a series he calls, What Makes a Great Fundraiser. Jerry gives us his 70 Verities from his best selling book, Born to Raise.

The Verities

Is there a “fundraising type”? Outgoing, people-oriented, backslapping, extremely well organized, goal oriented, brilliant. This magnificent creature probably doesn’t exist.

It’s really hard, perhaps impossible, to know what makes an ideal fundraiser. If you were designing the perfect fly-catcher, you probably wouldn’t design it to look like a frog!

I interviewed nearly 50 men and women I consider to be among the greatest in the country— each, the ultimate fundmeister. They are all winners.

blue rule

Verities #5 - This One is Obvious: You Ask for the Order


Markita Andrew is 13 years old. She gives us the answer.

She is the all-time champion seller of Girl Scout cookies-- 12,000 boxes last year. She has led the country the last several years.

Verities #4 - You Are High-Touch, Low Tech


You have a great appreciation for all of the remarkable electronic equipment and software that is available. You understand, however, that the computer does not take the place of calling on someone personally for a gift—not anymore than a pencil substitutes for literacy.

Verities #3 - You Are a Communicator


Before his passing, Peter F. Drucker was quoted in The Wall Street Journal. What he said about success is immediately transferable to our profession of fundraising.

Verities #2 - Success is Always Coupled With Perseverance.

An unrelenting persistence. It is a key element.


George Sand was no fundraiser. But in one of her famous letters, she wrote quite a remarkable definition of success appropriate to our field: “ . . . Simple taste, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, and love of work.  And most important, determination and patience. Persistence and perseverance.”

Verities #1 - You Have Great Joy in What You Are Doing. It’s A Love Affair.


You are passionate about your work and your organization. And it shows. In one of his speeches, Will Rogers said: “If you want to be successful, it’s pretty simple. There are only four things to keep in mind. It’s really that easy.