It never ceases to amaze me how many senior level nonprofit execs still conflate fundraisers with bounty hunters.

“Go forth and bag me some dollars,” these CEOs cry. It conjures the image of a 19th Century varmint trapper, loaded up with musket, traps and provisions, trekking into the woods in search of prey.

For the record: that’s not how fundraising works.

A good fundraiser is more like an orchestra conductor or a choreographer, mapping out roles and moves involving a gaggle of people — the CEO herself, key program staff, support staff, writers, researchers, etc. A Development director can no more bag the big gift on their own than a conductor can perform the Eroica without benefit of musicians.

What fundraisers do can be pretty remarkable. But it’s not magic, and they can’t do it alone. Good fundraisers are not bounty hunters.