The Do-Gooder’s Attitude

To be successful in fundraising, you have to cultivate the right attitude. The Do-Gooder is a mission-oriented, optimistic people person with confidence in their ability to fix problems. This might sound like a bad motivational poster, but after working with hundreds of fund development professionals over the past twenty-plus years, we’ve realized that attitude really is everything.

Do you have the “Do-Gooder” Attitude?

  1. Do you see yourself as an agent of change?
    The Do-Gooder promotes and enables change to happen in their organization, particularly related to cultivating a culture of philanthropy and inspiring people to participate in the fund development process. When people in the organization lack understanding or commitment to philanthropy, the Do-Gooder doesn’t write them off or engage in conflict. They figure out how to bring the other person along.
  1. Do you recognize, embrace and use your expertise?
    The Do-Gooder is a professional fundraiser who pursues knowledge and skills, stays current on trends in the field, and consciously builds their own credibility through credentialing and rigorous ethics. They see themselves as the fundraising expert and they position themselves as such in their organization.
  1. Do you take the high road?
    The Do-Gooder always does the right thing – even when it isn’t popular or easy. The Do-Gooder subscribes to the AFP Code of Ethics and does their best to follow it.
  1. Do you follow donor-centered best practice?
    The Do-Gooder puts the highest priority on the organization’s long-term relationship with each donor. (Note we didn’t say the Do-Gooder’s relationship with the donor.)  
  1. Do you listen more than you speak?
    The Do-Gooder is a truly curious person who wants to know more about the people around them. They understand that it is their ability to truly listen, not their ability to talk at people, that gets the gift. Listening deeply and understanding the motivations of each donor ensures a mutually beneficial relationship that lasts over the long haul.  
  1. Do you master your emotions?
    The Do-Gooder is emotionally intelligent: self-aware, confident, assertive, and able to communicate effectively. They work hard at not taking things personally or letting stress get the better of them. That means they also prioritize self-care: relaxation, exercise, sleep, regular meals, and support from friends, colleagues, and professionals when needed. 

If you’re having trouble cultivating and maintaining a good attitude, don’t despair! Constant staffing changes, unrealistic budget goals, disengaged board members and out of control special events can drag the best of us down. You need to focus on sustainable systems, build a network of supportive colleagues and engage in self-care strategies that prevent burnout. Get support. Take a colleague out to lunch or happy hour, go to an AFP meeting, or call us for coaching.

You could also consider joining us this August-November for our Do Good Better Studio Workshop Series.