If You’d Rather Read a Book Alone Than Join the Party, You Can Still be a Fantastic Nonprofit Fundraiser

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    …a guest posting by Andrea Kihlstedt

    Introverts have been in the news for the past year or so. Thanks to Susan Cain’s book about introversion, Quiet, we’re now more aware that those of us who shun the limelight have unique strengths that ought to be honored.

    What you might still not be aware of, though, is that introverts – yes, introverts – can make fantastic nonprofit fundraisers, either as volunteers or professionals.

    This idea may seem completely counter-intuitive, but I assure you it’s true.

    According to my experience and research, introverts bring the following specific gifts to the fundraising table:

    • Introverts are great listeners – and aren’t we always saying that listening to donors
       is one of the most important aspects of the fundraising process?

    • Introverts are sensitive to the people around them–often more sensitive to their
       needs than their extroverted counterparts.

    • Introverts are willing to cede the limelight to others without feeling dismissed.

    • Introverts are great observers and take in the all-important details of a
       conversation.

    If you are an introvert – or you are managing staff members and/or volunteers who are eager to help but are most definitely not the life of the party – how can you build on the inherent strengths of introversion to enhance self-confidence and build fundraising success?

    Here are three suggestions:

       Find the courage to be your authentic self. That’s essential.    Introverts who try to put on an extroverted face can come across as
       phony, and they exhaust themselves in the process. Rather than
       trying to be something you’re not – or encouraging your staff or
       volunteers to be something they’re not – it’s far better to
       play to your natural strengths.

       Find out whether your friends and colleagues see themselves as
       introverts or extroverts. In discussing this with them, you’ll
       come to understand one another more fully and be able to rely on
       each other’s strengths rather than being frustrated by them.

       Be sure to give yourself plenty of quiet time to recuperate from
       heavy interaction with others. Remember that while extroverts are
       energized through interaction with other people, for introverts
       contact can be exhausting. So plan on plenty of time alone between
       your meetings.

    The final thing to remember is that, while introverts bring natural strong skills to fundraising, the best organizations recruit introverts and extroverts and encourage each type of person to build on the inherent strengths that come from being their authentic selves. Not only that, but each of the two personality types also have other dominant traits to take into account – but that’s the topic of a different post.

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    Want to find your asking style, use Andrea’s Asking Style Assessment; and, if you want to read more about Asking Styles, take a look at Andrea’s book, Asking Styles: Harness Your Personal Fundraising Power. You can contact Andrea at Andrea@askingmatters.com.

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    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating or expanding your fundraising program? AskHank@Major-Capital-Giving.com
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