Going Outside Of Your Introverted Comfort Zone

Putting on the broad grin and being a people person is the hardest part of the job for some fundraisers. Their love for mission might have driven them to their careers, but — the introverts that they are — they feel more comfortable working from their desk than out meeting with people.

Matthew Taylor Siegel, director of development for San Jose State University’s College of Humanities & the Arts; Ann-Marie Meacham, fundraising consultant for Meacham Communications; and Vinney Arora, principal consultant at The Arora Collective, recognized these daily discomforts during their presentation, “The Introverted Fundraiser: How to Be Successful When You Just Want to Go Home,” at the 2018 Association for Fundraising Professionals’ International Fundraising Conference in New Orleans, La.

    Much of the session highlighted key differences between introverts and extroverts in what is often an occupation for the outgoing. Being an introvert is not all bad, according to the presenters. Introverts are great listeners and often ask great questions. Still, there might be much to gain by stretching out of their comfort zone. Networking and attending conferences might be a good general means of getting out there. Other potential areas include:

  • Data and operations personnel: Coordinate a thank-you call campaign with your board and staff and make a call or two of your own. Reach out to others by attending a luncheon or asking a potential mentor at another organization if they would like to grab a coffee;
  • Grantwriters: Host a funder conference call timed to coincide with the release of your annual report. Once you receive a grant check, write a personal note to your contact and thank them for their support; and,
  • Gift officers and development directors: Make check-in and thank you calls and invite donors in for a visit or out for a coffee. Use your smartphone to make a thank-you video for key donors after a campaign and be sure to reference them directly to add a personal touch.