Asking for donations for an organization can be difficult or even embarrassing for a nonprofit leader. Throughout my journey as an Atlas Corps Fellow, I have learned that there is so much to do when it comes to asking for donations for your organization. Nonprofit leaders in the 21st century have new challenges and opportunities including; technological evolution, access to information, and global interconnection. Therefore, we must be bold and ready to provide solutions to the challenges we face.
The social issues we care about may give us sleepless nights as we struggle to make impact and transform our communities. If we plan to ask for donations for our topical areas, we must be ready.
The speakers that talked about fundraising during the recently concluded Atlas Corps Winter 2016 Global Leadership Lab (GLL) helped me to build more confidence in planning to ask for funding. One of the biggest question most nonprofit leaders ask is: “Do we have the money we need to impact our community in a big way?”
I learned some great ideas from the GLL that I want to share with you. Before you ask for the donations, you must be sure and:
- Decide who you are asking: Are you asking an individual or an organization? If so, then you must know who would be the best person to ask.
- Decide how much you are asking: You must be sure of the exact amount of money you want to ask, and when you need it.
- Remember there will be a Yes or No: Don’t get upset if someone says no, this is part of fundraising. If it’s a Yes, then continue with your mission.
- Show people how their donations can make a difference: People like to know specific impact their donations will make. For example, you can ask, “Would you contribute $1,800 to build a 3-roomed house for a homeless family in Kenya?”
I understand that some organizations are small and are not well known. We all start from somewhere as we grow. Making your organization more visible can help you attract more donors. Create a Facebook page, Twitter account and Hashtag, LinkedIn, YouTube channel, and a blog page, to target a wider audience. If you have the capability, create a well documented website that describes your organization. Share your Web links on; YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Volunteer your time to go into the community to spread the word about your work.
Once you become established, your organization will most likely be successful when making appeal to potential donors because you will be viewed as a more credible person in the eyes of the donors. You can request for an introduction to a donor from one of your supporters even through email. You may feel embarrassed to go to a donor to talk about an organization that is not known. Some donors might not even show interest and this may make you feel as a waste of time and opportunity.
When a donor gives you money, please let them know specifically how their money has been used. Do a follow up and communicate with them how the money was put to work. There has to be transparency at all levels of the project implementation. Build a stable team of volunteers, partners, and engage more in the community. Train your team on fundraising and use the same script.
One of the most important things to do is to give the donors a firsthand experience of an issue. You can invite them in the community to see what you are doing and then ask for support. This can make a big difference and also change the life of a donor. During the visit, ask the donor questions like: “Have you ever considered giving back to the community?” or “What would you do if given a chance to change the world to be a better place?” These kinds of questions may attract a donor to help fundraise for your organization’s cause.
If a donor says no, take it as a yes. Never insult a donor; they might need time to think about your question.
Questions? Let’s connect on LinkedIn