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6 Indicators When Evaluating Fundraisers

With just about every aspect of an organization dependent on fundraising, fundraisers and their effectiveness could be the difference between a thriving organization and one lagging behind.

Recruiting a successful fundraiser isn’t easy. In his book “The Zen of Fundraising,” Ken Burnett lists six characteristics of effective fundraisers to keep in mind during the evaluation process.

  • Be proud. Fundraisers are critical to the entire nonprofit sector. Pride also comes with the need to be one’s own harshest critic, constantly looking for ways to refine and improve.
  • Believe passionately in your cause and do not be afraid to show it. Without a passion for your cause, one cannot communicate passion and commitment to others.
  • Stay open and honest. Donors expect honesty and the ability to trust what fundraisers tell them.
  • Be faithful. Stick with promises, stand by the organization’s mission and let donors see that you are trustworthy.
  • Be prepared to take calculated risks. Don’t be afraid of innovation. One must usually be prepared to take a few calculated risks for any real breakthrough to materialize.
  • Show donors respect, even when they are not present. Donors expect respect and efforts should be made not to offend donors. Those considerations should be kept in mind at workshops and seminars where donors might not be present. Avoid terms to describe current and former donors such as lapsed donor, residue, leftovers, dead pool and sediment.


As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.