How to Ask for Donations

Hello, fellow nonprofiteers. It’s @fundraiserchad with another fundraising quick tip. Today, I want to talk about a question I get all the time. Folks say, “Chad, how do you actually ask people for donations? How do you get those words out of your mouth?” What they’re really saying is, “How do you beg and plead for money all day long?” And to be clear … I don’t do that. I’ve never done that. That’s not what fundraising is. So before we get to the actual words that I use, I want to address mindset, because mindset is huge in fundraising and especially with making an ask.

So, what about mindset? What do we need to think about? Well, we need to replace that asking, or even begging mentality, with relationship building. That’s what fundraising is! Fundraising is relationship building. We don’t ask for anything until we’ve built a relationship with somebody. We have to get to know them. We have to take the time to cultivate that relationship. So, don’t let your mindset get in your way. And, don’t let your apprehension about asking get in the way of a donor who wants to make a gift. Let me say that again because it’s important. Don’t let your apprehension about asking take away from a potential donor the opportunity to make a difference in this world. So fix that first.

Now we’ll talk about the words. After I’ve formed a relationship with a potential donor and I think they’re passionate and they might want to help too, I almost always use the same words in an ask, and it sounds like this. “I hope you’ll consider joining me in supporting this cause with a donation of $5,000.” Or, “I hope you’ll consider joining me in supporting this cause by serving on the board of directors.” Those words, “consider,” and “join me” are incredibly effective. First with “consider,” do I need an answer right now? No, I just need them to think about it. So let’s use that soft ask. That is going to be more likely to get a yes. “Yeah, I’ll think about it.” That’s all I need to hear. Then, “join me.” “Join me” is incredibly powerful. We are a world of folks that like to come together. The human race likes to join together. So by saying, “I’m already doing this, would you join me in doing it too?” That’s incredibly effective. So “consider,” and “join me,” are great words to use. Focus on them, not the ask, and it will be so much more natural, so much easier and so much more effective when you make an ask.

So that’s what we do. We fix the mindset and then we use words that are going to soften our ask and make it more effective. That’s how you make a fundraising ask.

I cover this in much more detail and lots of other tips in my webinar, “How to get a donor visit and knock it out of the park.” You can instantly view a recording of that webinar by following this link.