What the Fundraising Podcast
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“What the Fundraising” Podcast | Mallory Erickson & Natalie Rekstad of Black Fox Global

Filed in General Fundraising — October 18, 2022

In our blog we’ve pulled back the veil on our approach and methodologies through a largely ‘plug and play’ resources and Masterclasses so you can skillfully engage the funding partners your mission deserves.

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What the Fundraising Podcast

“What the Fundraising” Podcast | Mallory Erickson & Natalie Rekstad of Black Fox Philanthropy

It was such a pleasure to join the compelling and engaging Mallory Erickson on her ‘What the Fundraising’ Podcast to discuss the tangible and intangible leadership qualities that attract Big Bet funding of $10 million or more, but the lessons here apply to all leaders seeking vital funding for their missions.

Listen in for Greater Nuance, Insights, and Banter! 

We are also sharing here key guidelines on sought-after leadership qualities from our landscape analysis, shared via the 2020 Skoll World Forum:  Attracting Bold & Big Bet Funding


Leadership is probably the most important part of becoming bold and big bettable because oftentimes it is the leader who attracts the attention of funders initially.  And as important as development staff and teams are, most big bet funders will want to engage more directly with the one or two founders/leaders at the helm of the organization, at least on the outset. There are many leaders that have the charisma and ability to get in the door with key funders.  Once this happens, the former points become more important in order to secure the funding. Still, in many cases getting the meeting can be the hardest part and this is where leadership plays a vital role. Many of the funders we spoke with touched on this aspect in great detail, expressing that the following are some of the key things they look for in a leader (as described in their own words):

Commitment, Passion and Humility

“Does this person have charisma, are they a compelling person, do they have the character of a leader? Is there kindness and generosity about them? Do they come across as ready to make it happen and don’t have arrogance about doing so?”

“If you look at which organizations are established you see charisma and confidence mixed with a solid trajectory, someone who has been perceived as being in the same work for decades”

Depth, Context and Expertise 

“Can this person have an in-depth and great conversation? Do they know who the other players are and where their organization stands amongst them in the field? Do they know the major issues and context well enough?”

Conviction, Character and Reputation

“Often our staff will talk with others about an individual leader and their organization to figure out if they are someone you want to be in business with. Some of this speaks to the question, are they smart and funny (compelling) but also seeks to find out what the founder’s story is. How did they get into this work? What leads them to what they are working on? How does their staff interact with them? How do they interact with staff? To do with engaging with my foundation, do they treat (for example) the receptionist with as much respect as they treat me?”

We wish you the best on your fundraising and impact journey!

Looking for a robust funder candidate pipeline?  We’re here to help!  Reach out to Lindsay Lynch at lindsay@blackfox.global to set up an appointment to learn more about our Painless Prospecting service!