Asking for Donations: A Guide

Asking for Donations: A Guide

Fundraising is an uncomfortable necessity that all non-profits face. Donors are busy and reluctant to part with their hard-earned cash, so it’s your job to prepare a succinct and impactful pitch that's straightforward and professional. Identify common values or purposes between the donor and your nonprofit, then explain how a donation could help further your shared cause.  Read on for more advice on this topic and with a little pre-planning, you can set yourself up for success.

Research First

First, research the donors you intend to contact. If the audience you’re interested in soliciting are individuals, what are their interests or values? If the potential donor is a corporate business or foundation, does their mission statement or purpose align with the goals of your organization? By doing background research on your potential donors, you can discover the nonprofits they are already involved with, thereby giving you clues about their interests and level of charitable engagement.  


Impact-Forward

People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Corporations are more and more concerned with social responsibility. But everyone will want to know that their money is being put to good use. When soliciting for donations, it’s your job to show your donors why they should give to your non-profit.  You’ll want to explain what the impact of their donation will mean for your non-profit. Be specific when explaining the impact of their donation.

Practice your Pitch  

Before you contact any donors, you should know what you’re going to say and how you will ask them for a donation. Write down your pitch and read it back to yourself,  Does it make sense? Is it moving and convincing? Take time to edit your pitch until it feels polished. Next, move on to practicing your ask in front of a mirror. Run through it as if you were actually conversing with somebody. This will help you sound more natural when you’re speaking with a donor, and less like you’re reading from a script. Lastly, to nail down the pitch, record yourself. Yes, this sounds dorky and painful but you’ll be able to self-assess your pitch better when you see it on camera and correct things you don’t like.

Friendly but Upfront  

Greet your donors solicitously, but keep it brief before letting them know the reason for your call, email, or visit. Asking for what you need can be tough, but time is money and they will appreciate your brevity.

Be Specific

When contacting a donor, ask them for a certain dollar amount. This takes the guesswork off of their plate to try and figure out how much to give. When you ask for what you want, you might just be surprised to get it.

If after all your efforts, a donor declines, and it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. But by asking yourself the following questions, you can reflect on your approach and refine your strategy going forward to ensure a better chance of success.

  • Did I thoroughly vet the donor to verify shared values?

  • Are there weak areas of my pitch to improve?

  • Is the donor concerned with our cause but not financially able to donate at the moment?

At Harness, we are familiar with the challenges of fundraising and we understand that the model is changing from a transactional approach to a relationship first approach. Our app can help your organization cultivate new donors, increase donor retention, and maximize donations for years to come! Check us out at https://harnessgiving.com/.


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