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Born to Raise

Born to Raise

Jerold Panas

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Born to Raise
What Makes a Great Fundraiser Great

by Jerold Panas, 228 pp

“It shook the earth under fundraising” is how one development professional described the impact of Jerold Panas’s book, Born to Raise, when it was released thirty years ago.

In his quest to identify what makes a great fundraiser great, Panas conducted in-depth interviews with some fifty men and women considered to be the greatest in the US. He also sought the counsel of development professionals across America, eventually receiving nearly three-thousand responses to his questionnaire.

The groundbreaking result was Born to Raise, a seminal fundraising work available again in this 30th Anniversary Edition.

In essence, Panas distilled the qualities of effective fundraisers into a host of “verities” - certain key factors that proved consistent with accomplished fundraisers. “These elements and characteristics shine as a beacon for others to follow,” says the author.

With more than 40 years of experience, Panas is confident he can defend each verity beyond challenge. “On a scale of 1 to 10-they're all tens,” he says. “A few are elevens!” he notes with effusiveness.

As would be expected, no one person will have each verity. Panas is aware of that. “The question to answer for yourself is how you can make the very most of the attributes and skills you DO have,” he says.

Jerold Panas, together with Harold “Si” Seymour, professionalized the field and created the model that tens of thousands in philanthropy have adopted over the past half century. His insights in this commemorative edition are, to use Panas’s own words, like “virtual strikes of lightning.”  

About the Author

The late Jerold Panas was among a small handful of the grandmasters of American fundraisers. He was considered one of the top writers in the field and a number of his books have achieved classic status. Hailed by Newsweek as "the Robert Schuller of fundraising," Jerry was a favorite speaker at conferences and workshops throughout the nation. He served as executive director of one of the premier firms in America and was the co-founder of the Institute for Charitable Giving. The very term "philanthropy" would mean less without Jerry's influence. His book, Asking, is the bestselling fundraising book of all time. Others such as The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, Making a Case Your Donors Will Love, and Born to Raise are classics and standards for the profession.


Table of Contents

1) Great Expectations

2) Grow or Go

3) Soft Iron into Lead

4) Moments of Magic

5) Can Do

6) Between the 40-yard Lines

7) Making Great Things Happen

8) Running Fast Just to Stand in Place

9) Soldier of Change

10) The Eureka Factor

11) You Start with Integrity

12) Vision Alone Give Us Only a Visionary

13) Playing a Poor Hand Well

14) The Verities

15) The End of the Beginning

16) One Final Note

Appendix I: The Most Important Criteria

Appendix II: Appraisal of Success Factors


This article is excerpted from Jerold Panas' book, The Fundraising Habits of Supremely Successful Boards, ©Emerson & Church, Publishers. To obtain reprint permission, please call 508-359-0019 or email us.

Louis Pasteur's contributions were of incalculable value.

He was able to halt an epidemic of cholera, at the time the scourge of the world. And that one only one of dozens of extraordinary achievements. Toward the end of his life, Pasteur said to a friend: "How beautiful! And to think that I did it all!" It was a moment of both modest astonishment and pride.

We fundraisers, how fortunate we are. We too have the opportunity to save lives. Our days are full, alive with auspicious moments. But at times our emphasis is almost entirely focused on getting the gift. Reaching the budget. Putting the campaign over.

These are essential to our work, of course. They do represent our personal report card, after all. Still, too often we get so wrapped up in these scorecards - our bottom line – we lose sight of why we really are in this business.

Pasteur through science, we through fundraising. We are at it every day, raising funds to build a new cancer center, cure diabetes, send a kid to camp or college, support the symphony, provide guide dogs. We are one with Pasteur: At the end of our career we, too, can say: "How beautiful! And to think that I did it all!"

In these pages when I write about the great fundraisers, I refer entirely to those on the firing line, those who set their sights and souls on securing the gift. What makes some succeed and others fail? This is the issue that gnaws. This is the overriding question I believe I’ve found the answer to.