Lessons on Philanthropy in Fundraising by Jerold Panas

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Over 83 weeks (yes, eighty-three!), you will read some lessons I’ve learned in my richly rewarding 40-year journey in fundraising. There are bits and pieces about our profession and what skills and attributes make a great fundraiser. I also write about what motivates a person to make a gift to your organization.

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Thought #84 —


The most important communication skill of a fundraiser is that of listening. It is listening that truly inspires the gift.

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Thought #83 —

You Must Ask

When we ask men and women why they haven’t given to the organization, the single, most often repeated answer is— they weren’t asked.

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Thought #82 —

Never Be Satisfied

The successful fundraiser is not easily satisfied. Only the very best will do.

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Thought #81 —

Decisions Determine Resources

It is important to understand that resources do not determine decisions — Decisions determine resources.


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Thought #80 —

A Raging Determination and Drive

The successful fundraiser believes that patience is not necessarily a virtue. They pull up the roots to see if the flowers are still growing. They are seldom satisfied with progress that isn’t on a fast track.

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Thought #79 —

It's Common Sense

To be a great fundraiser, it is essential you have common sense. There is a major difference between the non-achiever and the peak performer. It’s not high intelligence.

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Thought #78 —


By stewardship, I mean relating donors directly to the impact of their philanthropy. That means having them understand how important their gifts are.