Tips for raising funds

Why is it hard to ask for money?

So You are Afraid to Ask for Money

I could never do that !

I'll do anything but ask for money.

Those of us who do various forms of fundraising hear these comments a lot, but when the head of a non-profit organization said this to me, I realized it was worth looking into.

There are many reasons why people are afraid to ask other people for money, including the fear of someone saying no or of finding out that the person doesn't want to support the cause. Another common roadblock is timing. A friend of mine describes the ask as awkward. He would rather take the time to tell the prospect about the cause and why he interested, but he hates flat out asking.

Just as there are many people who are afraid to ask for money, there are others who actually like fundraising. These people have developed different attitudes toward asking people for money. The best fundraisers I know realize that the ask is not about them. A no is not a statement about self worth. By asking people to help a cause, these fundraisers feel they are offering the opportunity for others to invest in the project.

They are helping people become philanthropists. This work does not come out of a scheme to get money, but rather out of a belief in the project or organization the fundraiser is working to support.

Another reason some people actually enjoy fundraising is that asking for money can also be about developing relationships. Once you realize that you are not asking for money for yourself, you can spend your efforts introducing the prospects to your organization. At the same time you are developing a relationship with them. People give to people. Donors are the people who feel a part of your organization and want to support the cause.

When making introductory visits and calls it is very important that you are upfront with people as to why you are calling. If the prospect is aware of the purpose of your visit, some of the awkwardness of the conversation is eliminated. For example, I'm calling from ABC Organization and I would like to come to talk with you about our plans and about your involvement / support of them.

By using an opening line like this you can weed out those who are not interested without putting a lot out there. You will know that the people you are meeting with are interested in your organization.

You might not be able to figure out why you feel uncomfortable about fund raising, but the more committed you feel about the cause, the less difficult it is. Dig deep and appeal to the philanthropist in yourself. Help others see and buy into your cause.

When first time donors are asked why they made their first gift, many times their answer is "I was never asked."

Source - Article in Social Edge by Kim H. Erskine, Philanthropic Advisor,
University of Oxford's North American Offices

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