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Eight Traits of Effective Youth
Fundraising Programs

by Jim & Connie Walters

Editor's Note: This is the first of an eight part monthly series. Although it's focus is on youth fund-raising programs, these traits are universal enough for all fund-raisers to make note of. For more information about the authors and their expertise please see the end of the article.


Part 1: The key leader has a heart and a vision for the work.

Fund-raising is vital to the success of any endeavor, and requires as much creativity, innovation and leadership as any aspect of the work. To have success here, you must have a leader who brings the right qualities and skills to the task.

The first quality to look for is passion. At a recent "think tank" conducted by 21st Century Strategies, Inc., one of the experts, Lyle Shaller, stated, "I think passion is the critical variable... I would insist that the number one quality of a leader be passion." By passion, he means a blend of enthusiasm (which can be contagious) and stubbornness (to see the project through to completion). But enthusiasm alone is not enough. The work of fund-raising calls for a leader with three other qualities.

  • First is the ability to cast a vision to the group as a whole. This calls for the ability to formulate plans and verbalize them, to be able to "sell" ownership to the workforce as a whole, installing in them confidence and excitement about the project.

  • Second is organizational ability, that knack of delegating and distributing work to everyone in order to increase participation, minimize headaches, and magnify results. People give their efforts not just to meet a need, but to fulfill a vision. The more meaningful their work, the more of themselves they will pour into the project.

  • Third, the fund-raising leader needs to have an entrepreneurial spirit. He or she needs to be able to manage a certain amount of risk, as in most projects the overhead is committed before the first profits are realized.

If the leadership of your group can identify their "entrepreneur" who has the passion, vision, organizational skill, and risk capacity, they have laid a good foundation for the work of their organization.

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About the Author:

Jim Walters serves in a local church ministry in Denver, Colorado. Along with his wife Connie, who has led fund-raisers for both church, elementary school, and high school groups, they formed Booster Solutions to help others find profitable answers to their fundraising problems.

Together they have written "Top Ten Youth Fundraisers", a 16 page handbook that details their plans for 10 great fundraising ideas. Each plan in the manual is fresh, tested and profitable. They work well for both school and church groups. This is not a rehash of coupon books, subscriptions or car washes.

Every plan includes: 1) an overview of the project as successfully completed. 2) a "key thought" ensuring your success. 3) step-by-step outline with options and thoughts on variations.

To order send $7 (includes tax and shipping) to:

Booster Solutions
11431 W. Lake Drive
Littleton CO 80127

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