Thinking about Becoming a Fundraiser?

Posted on Jun 28, 2021 by Jon Dize - Funding the Mission

Our schools in Northeast Indiana are blessed to have some schools with someone whose job is at least partially focused on fundraising. Maybe they have full-time fundraising staff like Concordia Lutheran High School and St. Peter’s Lutheran; maybe they have assistant principals with fundraising as one of their responsibilities like Holy Cross Lutheran and St. Paul’s Lutheran; maybe they have part-time staff like Emmaus Lutheran; or maybe a “I-thought-they-were-paid-staff”volunteers like St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran.

TLSP advocates that every school will eventually need someone who “owns” the fundraising effort. Pastors and Principals have so many current hats they are wearing, fundraising is and will be a key part of long-term viability and therefore should have a dedicated effort, and person, focused on fundraising.

Maybe you, or someone you know, could be the next one to join one of our schools and lead their fundraising efforts. Have you considered the options?

Allow me to share the words of Jerold “Jerry” Panas. With a career spanning 50 years consulting with over 3,800 nonprofits, he was considered the “Father of modern fundraising” in America.

Jerry passed away in 2018, but in 2016 he penned a booklet called “The Irrefutable Canons of Fundraising”, 78 tips and truths of working in the profession.

Below is the introduction to the Canons where Jerry outlines his journey and the essence of a good fundraiser:

I am often asked how I chose fundraising as a career. Actually, I didn’t choose fundraising. Fundraising chose me.

Here’s the brief version. I was slated for medical school. I needed some money for tuition. I was in Pittsburgh when I took a job at the YMCA.

The Y put me in charge of fundraising and their campaign. What courage they exhibited. What confidence. What lunacy! I knew nothing about fundraising. After three months on the job, I thought, “Fundraising— this is really the life.” I was completely enamored. By the time the medical school acceptance letter arrived, I was in love with my new-found calling.

Bye-bye, medicine. Hello to a meaningful, engaging, and fulfilling fundraising career. I went on to start a consultancy that’s advised more than 3,800 nonprofits around the globe.

In the course of doing this, I saved humanity from what would have been the worst doctor in the world. I can’t even stand the sight of blood. I am convinced that to excel in fundraising, you must view it as a rewarding privilege to help others support a great cause. You must bring tremendous energy to work each day as you meet high lofty goals for yourself and the institution. It takes dogged persistence, commitment, and fervor.

Indeed, there must be zeal for the work and the organization. The difference between having passion and not having passion is the difference between flying and just flapping your wings.

I’m about to tell you what I learned in 40+ years of fundraising about donor motivation, the characteristics of effective gift officers, timeless strategies for securing gifts, and leveraging trustee support. (Actually, it’s been 50 years, not 40. I don’t, however, count the first 10. That’s because I knew everything the first 10 years and didn’t have anything to learn!)

I call this my IRREFUTABLE CANONS OF FUNDRAISING. There are 78 tenets.”

You can find a free electronic version of the Canons here. Take a look. Maybe you see yourself or someone you know with a passion for fundraising but no experience yet. That is where TLSP comes in; if you have the passion, we can teach the fundraising (passion for a school can’t be taught; that’s the hard part. Teaching fundraising techniques and best practices is the easy part.) We are here to coach and mentor those in fundraising roles. Feel free to contact us at with questions.