With regards to requesting gifts, the vast majority of us set out toward the slopes. We get it. It’s threatening to request that other individuals part with their well deserved money. They may ask, “Why?” And we won’t not have an awesome answer. At its heart, gathering pledges is helping other people interface a current enthusiasm specifically to your motivation. We don’t persuade benefactors. We enable them to understand that they as of now mind.
When benefactors trust that your motivation really matters, giving nearly turns into an idea in retrospect. Obviously they’ll give! The inquiry essentially turns out to be the amount to request. In any case, until at that point, you won’t need to sweat your gathering pledges inquire as to whether you take after these seven hints:
Read Up: 7 Ways To Asking for Donations Without Being Intimidated
1. Research Your Donors to Read Their Minds
The words you need them to state: “Stunning, it resembles he read my brain!” How would you get to that point? You look into your benefactor as an individual, yet you likewise have a wide profundity of general research on the sorts of individuals who give to your philanthropic in general gathering.
You should have the capacity to answer these inquiries in the event that you need to get into a benefactor’s heart:
What sorts of words do they utilize? What do they discuss when they’re feeling energetic?
What do they think about? What different causes would they say they are a piece of?
Do they have a past filled with giving?
What are their normal complaints, fears and worries about giving?
On account of the web, we have more access to data about our givers than any time in recent memory, and in addition the capacity to overview our givers and analyze how they discuss our motivation.
Note, in any case, that in the event that you review your givers or make inquiries of a potential contributor, you need to figure out how to peruse the appropriate response behind the appropriate response.
We need to address the feelings of dread and dangers each giver feels, regardless of whether the benefactor herself can’t distinguish them so anyone can hear. And after that, we get the opportunity to associate their current interests and wants to your NPO, utilizing a similar dialect they utilize. At the end of the day, comprehend your giver base so well it resembles you’ve perused their psyches. Try not to stress, this is less demanding than it sounds in the event that you take after the following six hints…
2. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE – And Then Practice Some More
The best way to dominate your donor visits, get more funds and create real, lasting connections with your nonprofit … is to PRACTICE every aspect of your ask.
In other words, by the time you are actually sitting in front of a prospect, you should have rehearsed the many paths the conversation could take MANY times before. Understanding your talking points, how you’ll graciously address common objections and the exact way you’ll frame your ask allows you to stop thinking about these things and just focus on talking with the donor.
Practice your ask. Can’t emphasize it enough.
Run through how you’ll call them on the phone. Plan on how to structure your meeting. Decide how long you’ll small talk at the beginning, and how to transition smoothly into the ask itself. Leave no stone unturned!
The key to this:
- Practice out loud.
- Then, practice in front of a mirror.
- Then, record yourself on video practicing.
It’s painful, but you’ll learn things about your delivery and be far more confident and free when it comes to actually making the ask. Don’t skip this step.
3. Never, Ever Surprise Your Prospect
If your potential donor is ever surprised you’re asking them for money, something is deeply amiss.
Make it clear in your first call or contact that you’re interested in talking to them about your cause and how they might be able to get involved. Make it clear that, while you’re interested in them as a person, there’s a deeper purpose for your visit. That way, they’ll be able to prepare their response, objections and questions.
4. Stop Being Boring (It Isn’t Worth It)
Boring feels safe. No presenter who just reads bullet points off a PowerPoint instead does it because they want their audience to eagerly contemplate running from the room.
Nope, they do it because it feels safe. Reading a PowerPoint feels like an easy way to tell your audience all the info they want and be sure not to forget anything important. But instead, you fail to keep your audience engaged.
The actual way to be safe is what we discussed above: PRACTICE. Then you won’t need slides, and you can focus instead on not being boring.
Don’t be scared of sounding weird or too forward by asking things like, “What do you think is the biggest challenge we face in this area?” Provoke interesting reactions that are memorable, not boring, formulaic encounters.
Of course, your real goal is to make your donor both catch your enthusiasm and feel understood. But to get there, you need let yourself be not-boring enough that they can have fun talking to you.
5. Ask for Advice – You’ll Usually End Up with Money
The old fundraising maxim applies here:
“Ask for money, you’ll get advice. Ask for advice, you’ll get money.”
What most people truly want is to be heard. Asking for advice means that they will freely tell you the secret thing they are most passionate about, as well as their biggest fears about giving.
And most importantly, the donor will feel valued and important. Which they are! They’re the ones whose enthusiasm makes changes happen in the world. So ask them for their input and impressions.
For more tips on the advice visit, check out Gail Perry’s great article on how advice visits can open any door in town.
6. Your Secret Weapon is Pointed Silence
Our culture HATES silence. We want to fill it. This is one reason why extroverted salespeople and fundraisers can do worse than introverts.
But often times, the most important, meaningful thing – the thing your prospect REALLY wants to tell you – won’t be said if you quickly fill the silence.
Bad Fundraiser: “What’s the most important thing about the environment to you?”Donor: “Well, I think environmental damage is a pretty big problem. We’re hurting the environment forever and we don’t even realize it!”Bad Fundraiser: “Yeah, you’re so right! That’s why our Program X is so important! Let me tell you… [Donor hears: “blah blah blah”]
NOOOOOOOO—don’t do this! Your funding for next year will die a thousand painful deaths.
Here’s how that conversation could have gone:
Superman Fundraiser: “What’s the most important thing about the environment to you?”Donor: “Well, I think environmental damage is a pretty big problem. We’re hurting the environment forever and we don’t even realize it!”Superman Fundraiser: “How interesting!” [shuts up and looks genuinely interested]Donor: [feels like he should talk because of the silence] “… yeah! It’s really crazy. In fact, the other day I was thinking about when I was a kid and would go out and look at the stars in the country and see meteors and all kinds of awesome stuff. But now that the city is so big, and there’s so much light pollution and smog, when I go out with MY kids to our cabin we’re lucky to see anything. It’s so sad.”
WOW. And you were about to start making a generic appeal about one of your programs, totally at random! Now you have so much material to work with, and know exactly the RIGHT program to talk about.
Your donor has practically sold themselves, all because you shut up! You’re fundraising for this guy’s kids’ happiness now, not your program!
Too many advice-givers say “just listen better!” but fail to tell you that means “shut up and allow silence, even if it feels awkward at first.” Great journalists love this technique – it gets them the best interviews and quotes.
By the way, this works in discussions of all kinds – whether you’re negotiating a contract, your salary, trying to understand your significant other or asking for a donation. Use strategic silence next time you talk with anyone. Its effects feel almost magical.
7. Ask for a Specific Amount (Don’t Make Your Donor Do Any Work)
Finally, always ask for a specific amount to contribute to the cause.
Why is this important? Because it takes the burden off of the donor to figure out what size of a donation is necessary. They don’t know anything about your campaign goals. You do. So help them out. Don’t make your donor do the work.
For some great, non-confrontational phrases to ask for a specific donation amount, I recommend checking out Marc Pitman’s excellent post on his favorite major donor fundraising phrases.
We get it. Asking for money is intimidating.
But it’s also an immense privilege. You’re inviting other people to take action on a cause that they genuinely care about.
You’re selling significance. And at the end of the day, most people don’t mind feeling like they’re making an outsized impact on the world.
You’ve just got to ask them to.