Asking for donations is one of the toughest parts of working for a nonprofit organization – it’s intimidating. It may lead to hostile reactions from people, and it can be difficult to decide how much to ask for. With that in mind, what if we told you that you didn’t have to ask for donations anymore? Imagine the positive effect that this will have in your nonprofit organization.
In this post, we’ll outline and briefly describe the 7-Point Most Effective Donation Request Checklist for Nonprofits. Although, there are a number of tactics and strategies you can use to ask for donations, we wanted to highlight a few so that you can implement them today and see positive results.
Your first task is to help your prospect donors realize they already care about a cause. The fact is that they may feel passionate or have an interest in your nonprofit’s activity. However, they haven’t found a way to fully connect to your organization and make a contribution.
Your job is assist your potential donors realize how their contributions, big or small, help your organization’s mission. And, most important, help them visualize how they will feel knowing that they in turn are making a difference.
Keep in mind, when a donor makes a contribution, they themselves are fulfilling their own needs and desires to make a positive contribution in their communities or in the lives of others. In essence, they’re helping themselves while helping others.
Here are our 7-Point Effective Donation Request Checklist for Nonprofits that you can use today in your fundraising efforts:
1. Research Your Donors
Profitable businesses spend lots of money and efforts conducting thorough research of their potential customers. A nonprofit will not invest that much in research, but you cannot start a fundraising campaign without knowing who you are talking to. In marketing terms, this is called finding your “Target Market”.
Thanks to the Internet, you have easy access to information about donors. Therefore, start researching and find out if that person has given before, what their objections against giving are, what they are passionate about, and what kind of words they use. In the end, you need to find out what’s on their minds and see if you can match their willingness to donate with your organization causes.
2. Plan Every Aspect of Your Donation Request
If you were a salesperson, would you try to sell something without practicing your sales pitch? As a fundraiser, you are selling a cause, so you should prepare a “sales” pitch too. Practicing in front of a mirror or recording your request on video may feel painful, but in the end it will lead to great results.
No matter what request methods you use (asking on the telephone, organizing a meeting, sending a letter), do everything you can to be perfectly prepared for any possibility. The goal is to be prepared to address any objection and to handle it properly.
3. Don’t Take Your Donors by Surprise
It is recommended to suggest donors from the first time you contact them what the purpose of the interaction is. This way they will have time to prepare their response and objections and consider an amount, while an unexpected donation request often gets turned down immediately.
A tactic we highly recommend is that you visualize the outcome of your call or meeting with the prospect. Imagine the positive outcome it will have and how you will feel knowing that they will say ‘Yes’ to your request. This will give you the confidence and sense of security to do well in your request for donations.
4. Listen Carefully to What Donors Have To Say
Being heard is what most people actually want, and we often underestimate this. If you listen to people and encourage them to talk, they will end up telling you their secrets and sharing their biggest fears when it comes to donating money. This also makes them feel appreciated and valued, and their enthusiasm will make them more likely to give for the cause.
Listening to your prospect donors will also show them that it’s not all about your organization, but that you care about their goals and aspirations. Remember, when people make donations, they do it to meet an internal want or need. Your job is to listen to them and find out what that is. Once you know what it is, your job is to knowledge it. Show them that you will help them meet that need or want.
5. Ask for A Specific Amount
For the donor, figuring what amount to give is a burden, as they are not aware about your organization’s needs and they may be afraid of how the amount they choose will be perceived. Take the burden off their shoulders and set an amount yourself; you can use phrases like “Is a gift of $… something you would consider?”or “I have no idea how much to ask, but is $… an amount you could consider?”
When asking for a specific amount, you can also mention how other donors committed to the same amount and how that made a big impact in your organization (more on this in the next point). People have a need to relate to others, so by doing this you give them the opportunity to do so. You’re setting a minimum expectation, as they’re now comparing themselves with others and may feel the need to give more.
6. Show Donors The Difference They Can Make
Donors like to know that their contribution is achieving something specific, so tell them exactly what the organization will do with the amount they donate.
For example: “The $50 you donate will pay 20 meals for homeless people”. You can also mention your personal fundraising goal: “I’m committed to raising $2000 for underprivileged families in our community, will you donate $50 to help me reach that goal?”
You may be raising funds for different causes, so make sure you mention that their contribution will used towards their chosen cause. This goes back to researching your donors and knowing specifically what causes they’re interested in.
This way you can attract donors that will feel compelled to donation to your particular cause. We call this “matching your cause to the right donor”.
7. Thank Your Donors
Thank donors in advance for their contribution and also thank them for taking the time to consider your donation request. Expressing gratitude is one of the most important rules of fundraising.
Now, you may think that your job ends here, assuming your prospect donor accepted your request. Not yet! This is far from truth. In fact, your job only begins here. Not only you want to thank your donors, but you also want to keep communicating with them on a consistent basis.
You want to have a donor retention strategy. In other words, donor retention is a measure of how many donors continue to donate to your organization. It’s often measured by a rate.
So, a high donor retention rate means you have long-term supporters who come back year after year and support your cause(s). As you may already know, this is one of the most discussed topics in the nonprofit world. If you want to learn more about donor acquisition and retention, you can check more resources on our blog at https://fundlio.com/blog where we publish a number of articles on the subject.
Well, there you have it, a 7-Point Effective Donation Request Checklist. We hope you find it useful and most important that you learn these and implement them in your fundraising efforts. You will see positive results once you start implementing these strategies. Some of the may take time and hard work, but we can assure you, it’s well worth it.
At Fundlio, we’ve helped a number of nonprofits and churches raise more funds by applying this checklist. That’s why we’re confident that they work. In addition to helping nonprofits raise funds, we also help them collect donations by helping them get their own mobile site and smartphone application (iPhone/Android).
Do you need help with your fundraising efforts?