How your personality type impacts your fundraising efforts
Discovering the most successful method of appealing to donors can take time. But have you ever stopped to think how your personality type might affect your fundraising approach? Stephanie Dotto from CharityJob explores what different character traits help us thrive in the workplace – and how knowing your personality type can benefit your fundraising career.
It takes a particular sort of personality to work in fundraising. You need to be resilient and resourceful; someone who not only understands how donors think but knows how to tug on their heart strings in just the right way. It’s a constant balancing act between charm and sentiment, hitting all the notes that build a deep and personal connection to the cause.
Discovering the most successful method of appealing to your donors can take time and (plenty of failure). You’re not going to get it right off the bat. But that’s not to say that your natural strengths don’t play a part.
Have you ever stopped to think how your personality type might be influencing your fundraising approach?
Personality profiles and the modern workplace
In the late 1920s, physiological psychologist William Moulton Marston developed the theory that behavioural expressions of emotions could be broken into four distinct categories: dominance, influence, steadiness and consciousness (DISC). Nearly thirty years later, that theory was adapted into a checklist that was used in personnel selection for businesses.
Today, the DISC personality profile acts a means of measuring how people relate to others in the workplace, at home and in leadership positions.
This measures things such as:
It’s a way of understanding what makes us thrive in the workplace (and what holds us back). So how does this apply to fundraising?
Let’s take a closer look at each personality type and where their fundraising strengths and weaknesses lie.
The key word here is ‘dominance’. These are the sorts of fundraisers that are blunt, yet strategic.
They are decisive and highly confident, and generally want to be in control of the situation. If you’re a type D fundraiser, your strengths lie in your ability to paint the wider narrative. When you meet with donors, you’re really selling the mission and vision, often leaving the little details out.
Just beware of burnout. Remember to slow down and be personable. Not everyone sees things the same way as you and you need to be able to tailor your approach to different types of donors.
Probably better suited for corporate partnerships and major gift roles, these fundraisers are all about influence. They’re absolutely brimming with enthusiasm and optimism and will talk your ear off in any situation.
It’s all about collaboration, openness and impulse. If you’re a type I fundraiser, you’re absolutely stellar at building connection and telling stories. You want people to like you just as much as you want them to connect with your cause.
But be careful, it’s easy to go off course and edge on exaggeration. Don’t skip out on key facts just to sound more inspiring. It’s important to give a balanced view of the work you’re doing.
The Steady Hand
Probably the most apt way to describe this fundraiser is ‘dependable’. They’re calm and meticulous, taking their time to ensure the best results.
They’re always on hand to support their team because they know that everyone is working towards the same goal. And at the very heart of it, they just want everyone to get along.
If you’re a type S fundraiser, then you’re patient and willing to let people process information at their own pace. You’ll never oversell because you know how to read your donors and don’t want to scare them off.
But just be wary of coming across as too agreeable. Sure, you want people to feel comfortable, but you don’t want to undersell your organisation and the work they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to be direct and make the ask.
The Cautious Colleague
Detail oriented and meticulous, this fundraiser is all about the research. They think analytically and ensure every point they make is backed up by a realiable source.
If you’re a type C fundraiser, you are likely to have come from a research background. You’re great with grants because you like to dig deep into the gritty details and scour through ordinances and regulations to get your funding.
This sort of personality is well-suited for partnerships and high value fundraising. You don’t mind putting the time in to build a strong case, and it usually pays off.
But don’t forget you need to be flexible. You want to inspire, not just inform, and not everyone is wowed by the same details as you are.
So how can this help you improve your fundraising efforts?
If you’ve been in the fundraising industry for some time, you know what works and what doesn’t. And understanding those strengths can help you shape the direction of your career.
If there are certain skills you lack, this can help you pinpoint what you need to work on.
Stephanie Dotto, Content and SEO Lead at CharityJob