Fundraising can be very difficult and frustrating, but also a very rewarding and necessary activity. Over the past few years I have watched several of my close friends raise thousands of dollars for projects and charities through running marathons, asking for money to help disadvantaged students travel abroad, and even help pay medical costs and save the lives of their friends. After watching them closely, and raising funds for worthy causes myself, I think I have seen some qualities which great fundraisers seem to share.
Being Sincere and Having Integrity
This can't be overstated. Through the life you lead and the places you put your own money, people will watch you much more closely than they listen to you. If you demonstrate your commitment to an idea by putting your heart into it, people will notice. And if you want someone to part with their money, which they have worked hard to earn, they will want sincerity and integrity from you as the fundraiser. I've been humbled by this more than once, when someone doesn't even need to hear the entire explanation behind why I need to raise money for a cause. They just smile, say "I trust you" and give me much more than I was asking for.
In a similar way, the great fundraisers I have watched gave a tremendous amount to the projects or charities they were championing. Sometimes this meant money, but more often it meant time and energy. You can demonstrate your commitment to an idea through letters, personal conversations, events and even running, swimming and cycling for miles on end. People are inspired by energetic leaders who don't say, "You first," they say, "Come on, I'll go first."
Openness to Ways People Can Help
Allowing people to help you in more ways than just giving money can be hugely... helpful. A lot of incredible people will be ready to give you their skills, time and energy if you say the right words. Being open when you approach someone and figuring out what they love to do might unlock a door into your work that you couldn't have predicted. Maybe the person you are talking with can help you make a website to promote your cause, or share your charity within a club they love, or take photos for you or get donations from their professional contacts. The list goes on and on. If you show an interest in what they love to do, they will probably return the favor and help you out in surprising ways.
This is very personal and can be taken in creative directions, but it revolves around both the cause and the supporters. I've seen people send out monthly updates, thank you notes, certificates, personal letters and individual communication - all which help people feel appreciated. People often give without wanting anything in return, but being thanked and shown how what they did made a difference can be very rewarding. Think about why people would want to give to your cause or ask them why they did, and then try to honor that in some way. It's a nice touch that people appreciate.