How Introverts Can Be Very Successful Fundraisers

Here’s the cliche – it takes a gregarious, extroverted person to enrapture donors and secure large gifts.Stop-Selling

But this is clearly NOT always correct!

Introverts actually bring special skills that can be fabulous for major gift fundraising success.

Our fundraising colleagues who shun the limelight have unique strengths that should definitely be honored – because they can make fantastic nonprofit fundraisers, either as volunteers or professionals.

Some people have a bit of both personality types.

For example – I have a very extroverted personality but I find myself exhausted by too much contact with people. I love my speaking and work out in the world, but I have GOT to have my quiet time too!

Join our free webinar to find out your OWN Fundraising Style

If you’d like to learn more about your OWN fundraising style, join our free webinar on Monday, November 16 with Brian Saber and Andrea Kihlstedt, who pioneered the “Asking Styles” concept.

You can read all about our free Asking Styles webinar here.

It’s time to broaden our thinking about what kind of personality it takes to make a positive impact with donors. We ALL have natural skills that help us develop authentic relationships. 

According to our experience and research, introverts can bring these specific gifts to the fundraising table:

Why Can Introverts Be Terrific Fundraisers?

1. Introverts are great listeners.

Aren’t we always saying that listening to donors is one of the most important skills in fundraising?

Introverts are more comfortable NOT doing the talking. They have the innate ability to sit quietly and honor the donor by listening deeply.

And you’re probably heard me say over and over –  “Listen Your Way to the Gift.”

2. Introverts are sensitive to the people around them. 

Extroverted fundraisers can sometimes be more interested in themselves than their donor.

Extroverts can get carried away with their own enthusiasm. Sometimes their radar is not working properly so they miss important cues from donors. 

Introverts, on the other hand,  can be much more sensitive to the needs of donors than their extroverted colleagues. 

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

Our extraverted colleagues do, in fact, love attention.

But introverts are more comfortable out of the spotlight.

That way — donors can be the center of attention – whether at a large gala, a small social event,  or a board meeting,

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

Sometimes a tiny shift of a donor’s posture, or even the flicker of an eyelid can reveal your donor’s interest – or lack of interest.

Introverts, with their radar going round and round, are able to read a donor’s energy and their reaction – often before it’s too late.

You must be able to “read” your donor carefully if you are going to be successful!

What if you personally are an introvert?

If you are an introvert – here’s how to build on your inherent strengths:

– Find the courage to be your authentic self.

Rather than trying to be something you’re not – or encourage your staff or volunteers to be something they’re not – it’s far better to play to your natural strengths.

– Find out whether your colleagues see themselves as introverts or extroverts.

In discussing this with them, you’ll come to understand one another more fully.

You’ll be able to rely on each other’s strengths rather than being frustrated by them.

– Give yourself plenty of quiet time.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of down time to recuperate from heavy interaction with others.

While extroverts are energized by other people, for introverts social contact can be exhausting.

Recharging yourself is essential!


Don’t forget –  while introverts bring strong gifts to fundraising, the best organizations recruit introverts and extroverts.

You want to encourage each type of person to build on the inherent strengths that come from being their authentic selves.

Each personality type has much to offer – and can make an excellent fundraiser.

Join our free webinar to find out your OWN Fundraising Style


Don’t forget to join our free webinar on Monday November 16 at 2pm ET. You can find out about your OWN fundraising and asking style. It’s a very interesting and helpful insight that will help you raise much more money!

join our free webinar here! 

This post is adapted from my colleague Andrea Kihlstedt‘s EXCELLENT book:  Asking Styles: Harness Your Personal Fundraising Power, 2013 CharityChannel Press.