Fundraising is the lifeblood of your nonprofit. Do a good job of raising funds, and your organization thrives and grows; do a poor job, and your organization will languish and may even ultimately fail. Fundraising is a learned skill that should be considered especially important for your fundraising personnel to hone. Follow these tips to help you and other members of your organization become more effective at fundraising.
Connect With Donors First
When approaching potential new donors, asking for money shouldn’t be anywhere close to the first words out of your mouth. Instead, start of by focusing on making a connection with your potential donor and beginning to build a relationship, just as you would with anyone you have things in common with. Once you establish a solid connection, your potential donor is much more likely to contribute when you finally make your pitch for support.
Ideally, you don’t want to solicit just a one-time donation – you want to acquire a long-term supporter. That only happens when you successfully establish relationships. If possible, research your donors in advance, before approaching them, to learn about common interests that can help you connect with them.
Don’t Neglect Practice
In fundraising for your nonprofit, you’re a salesperson, and you’re selling your organization. Like any successful salesperson, your sales pitch needs to be flawlessly smooth. To make that a reality, you have to practice your fundraising pitch – preferably before you get any on-the-job practice. Rehearse fundraising pitches until they flow naturally from your lips. A stilted, stumbling pitch makes you and your organization appear unprofessional, which doesn’t convey confidence to your prospective donor.
It’s also a good idea to rehearse in front of a colleague or friend who can raise various objections to donating that you’re likely to encounter. This lets you practice responding to these potential objections in a way that can win over your prospect.
Learn to Ask for Advice Instead of Money
There’s an old saying that is often applied to fundraising: “Ask for money, you’ll get advice. Ask for advice, you’ll get money.” The best fundraising pitch is one where you never have to ask for money directly. Instead, your prospective donors just take out their wallets or chequebooks without even being asked. Instead of making a donation request, one way to make that happen is to use the indirect approach of soliciting a prospective donor’s advice on how best to advance your cause. Doing that will give your potential donor a feeling of value and importance in relation to your cause, thus making them more inclined to financially support it. Asking for advice may also elicit helpful information about the exact hot-button key to selling them on your organization, so that if you do end up having to make a direct appeal, you already know the best angle to use.