Monday, August 27, 2012

Fundraising Tip: Six Tips for Asking Naturally

Soulclap to Benevon for providing us these fundraising tips on asking for donations to run your BDPA chapter.

Benevon feels you should only be asking for money from the people who you know are ready to say yes. These are the people you have been cultivating and have gotten to know well. The Ask should not be a surprise to your donor. Once you have done enough cultivation to feel confident that your donor is ready to be asked, call and ask if you can meet with them face-to-face. You may want to bring along someone else from your organization who they know and respect—perhaps the executive director or board chair.

Meet wherever the donor is most comfortable. This could be at a restaurant, your office, their office, or their home.

Here are six tips to help you during your Asks:

  1. Your agenda is to see how related and connected you can become in those few minutes you will be together. It is all about listening for every cue and being much more focused on what they are saying right now than on what you should say next. This should feel like a very natural conversation—as if you were talking to a close friend or family member.
  2. Know what you want to ask for in advance, and be ready to adjust the terms and timeline of the gift if needed. The easiest way is to invite them to join your existing society of donors who make multiple-year pledges at specific giving levels.
  3. Explain the difference this gift would make to your organization and the impact it will have on the people you serve. You know this donor well enough by now that you can discuss the aspects of your program that are most important to them—for example, the after-school program, the adoption program, or the chapel. Be sure to include an example of how their gift would impact one person or one family in the program that they're most interested in.
  4. Expect them to say yes so that you won't fall off your chair or burst into tears when they do! Remember, you are not asking someone who is an ice-cold stranger. You are giving them the opportunity to make the contribution they want to make. There is no need for you to beg, strong-arm, or cajole.
  5. When the person says yes, let them know you are really excited about their gift—that it means a great deal to you. You want to make this person feel truly wonderful about giving to your cause.
  6. Even if they say no, listen closely for the cues as to what they need next so you can be sure to provide that before you ask them again. You want to end the meeting with this person looking forward to seeing you the next time, so that when they finally do say yes, they will feel great about it.
You will see that asking someone for money can be serious or playful, short and to the point, or long and drawn out. No two Asks are ever the same because no two people are the same.

The spirit of the Ask is respectful listening and friendly give-and-take, always with a strong commitment to the result. And the more you can relax and enjoy the process, the better.

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