The art of asking for donations
Serving on the Board of Directors for www.KidsatHope.org I know that around this time of year we will all be asked (or will be asking) for donations. When seeking financial support for your own organization, it may seem easier to approach friends and family, rather than customers, vendors and businesses, especially when everyone is asking the public to back their worthwhile campaign. However, to create a thriving, well-rounded program, it is crucial that you reach out to your entire network and community for support.
Cultivating donations is not about asking for money, but rather inspiring others to view a problem in the same way as you, and convincing them the work your organization does is the best solution. Donations and contributions will arrive when others believe in your cause and have faith in you.
The reason many nonprofit directors are apprehensive to approach new donors is because they believe donors possess all the power. To overcome the intimidation factor, you must fundamentally understand that you both bring something important to the table. Their money and resources, combined with your diligent work to fix this urgent and relevant issue, will transform the shared vision into a reality.
It is also essential that you understand your donors. What problems can you solve for them? Why is your organization the best choice? Large donors must be approached with an offer for a practical, mutually beneficial partnership. Think creatively, such as trading community service or complimentary membership fees in exchange for construction services, office furniture or program supplies. At first, receiving a no can be devastating, but always accept the answer graciously because you need to leave the door open for future discussions and opportunities.
You will spend less money in the end if you invest in the retention of existing donors as well. It not only costs more to recruit new donors, but it also often results in lower donations.
Rather than casting a broad net, develop strong relationships with key community leaders who have a gift for drawing in other people.
The only way a nonprofit organization can succeed is with the support of every member, from the board of directors to the recipients. Each person must know how their role is vital to the mission. Those who cannot afford to give money can be encouraged to donate time, while those who have moved on from the program should be inspired to pay it forward. To get everyone involved in the ask, invest in training seminars that help members shape their messages and boost their confidence in approaching local businesses and community leaders. Once they understand how to ask for support, their passion and enthusiasm will become contagious.
Support your chosen organizations and we can all do our part to help those in need.