The best fundraisers are like the best corporate leaders, research concludes

They also promote a good image of fundraising in the media, adds Alan Clayton of Clayton Burnett

Alan Clayton
Alan Clayton

The most outstanding charity fundraisers share many attributes with the best company leaders, convention delegates were told yesterday.

The conclusion emerges from Great Fundraising, a report written by Professor Adrian Sargeant and Assistant Professor Jen Shang of Indiana University after interviewing senior fundraisers at five top fundraising organisations.

Sargeant said that the best senior fundraisers were quietly self-confident, passionate about their cause and willing to stay with the organisation for a long time. They could build teams that thought like them, influenced the culture of their organisation in a way that helped fundraising and had clear long term goals and shorter-term aims to help to achieve them.

They also built good relationships with other senior staff, he said. "They are exceptionally good at managing relationships and managing them upwards. They spend time using the charm they have to generate some admiration in the organisation and to lever that to achieve fundraising goals."

At the same session, Alan Clayton, a director at the agency Clayton Burnett, said fundraisers needed to promote a good image of fundraising in the press. He said trustees' views of fundraising were strongly influenced by the media, and the fear of bad press sometimes led them to make bad decisions.

"Trustees define the culture, and trustees get their opinions of fundraising from the media," he said. "One of the great organisations is no longer a great fundraiser because the chairman unilaterally banned face-to-face fundraising because he did not like it. That is not just bad practice - that is negligent."

- Read more on this year's IoF National Convention

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