So what are the habits of the best fund raisers?
There are three that I’ve read about. And the theory has some neuroscience behind it.
It may be fashionable to be a multitasker, but that really doesn’t work. In layman’s terms, that part of the brain that we might call the executive center is where we learn new things. And when learning, that brain part can concentrate on only one thing at a time.
That means as a development team leader, or even sole practitioner, you need to focus on the value proposition you offer your prospects. Why their support results in a better world. How their participation signifies success. Don’t get distracted with details that only lead to confusion because your message lacks focus.
Now that you are focused on the right message, the next trait is easy. PRACTICE.
Great success doesn’t just happen. It is practiced. A bit of neuroscience tells us that as the brain develops, it builds pathways between its parts. Those pathways are often called “hard wiring.” As these pathways get stored in the brain, they become easy to recall. Tony Dungy, the Super Bowl coach said it well. “Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things but do them without thinking. They follow the habits they have learned.”
Yes, you know the importance of listening well, building that relationship and not pushing too hard. None of these habits interfere with that. In fact, they make it easier to be a great listener and responder. Because so much of what people want from you is very similar.
And now, what you don’t want to hear is this third habit. It’s called DELAYED GRATIFICATION.
This skill is contrary to our instant gratification society, but the emotional background to it is simple. Successful fund raisers practice the habit of giving something to their prospects in order to build those relationships. That something is trust in their prospects – and donors as well – by recognizing that they must forget their desire for instant success and do the work to earn the reward. The relationships they build add value to others and lead to a natural time to secure a larger than expected gift. Remember the hare and the tortoise. He was patient when that bunny bolted … but he won.
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