#16 | Is there a personality type best suited for fundraising?

We kicked off our conversation with Wendy’s “five-before-ten” which is a deliberate practice of writing five handwritten notes to her donors every day before 10am. Wendy is a major gifts officer at the United States Naval Institute.

Much of our conversation focused on understanding who we are as fundraisers, similarly understanding our donors, and certainly understanding the organizational culture where we work.

What I found to be especially intriguing was Wendy’s journey to fundraising which began with a journey to better understand herself. After discovering that her original career path was not in sync with who she was, Wendy began searching for opportunities that aligned with her personality. After a year of career counseling and interviewing a hundred people, Wendy discovered that major gift fundraising was an excellent fit for her extroverted, curious and strategic personality.

In addition to understanding ourselves and our donors, we also discussed how important it is to understand your organizational culture. As would be expected of a military organization, everything is strategic and concrete at the US Naval Institute. For example, even when the chemistry between her and a particular donor is strong, Wendy knows how to take a back seat and allow her CEO and/or board to take the lead in a relationship. She also recognizes that the organization’s modus operandi is to stick with the plan and adhere to a clear chain of command.

Jason Lewis