Making the Ask: 3 tips for less awkward fundraising

pexels-photo-255527.jpegYou're a dedicated fundraiser with a passion for your mission. You know the ins and outs of major gift programs, creating campaigns, organizing donor data, segmenting your constituents and handling appeals. But asking for donations, no matter how seasoned you are in the world of fundraising, can still be intimidating and even a little awkward.

We love what Nonprofit Hub had to say about that: "We don’t convince donors. We help them realize that they already care." Your job as a fundraiser is not to try and talk someone into giving to your organization. Your job is to show your donors why they're donors and why they've chosen to engage with or give to your organization. If you find yourself stumbling over your words when talking with potential donors, or sounding a little bit like a telemarketer (don't worry, we've all been there), we have some tips to make you a more effective asker.

1. Research: Know your constituents before you go to them. If you find yourself questioning whether or not a particular person will be interested in your campaign, you probably shouldn't be asking them for money. Only go to people you know will be genuinely engaged in your cause. Segmenting your donors makes this extra easy!

2. Rehearse: You wouldn't get up on stage to give a speech without practicing first, so make sure you are not going into a meeting - whether it's in person or virtually - unprepared. Know what you're asking for, who you're asking and how you're going to ask for it. Go in with key statistics, facts and objectives, because you won't get a faster, "no, thank you" than you will if you go into an ask without knowing your stuff.

3. Don't sugarcoat it: Your donors don't want to feel like they're being tricked, blind-sided or pitched, so tell them exactly what you're doing, what your goal is and what you need from them. If you have a specific dollar amount in mind, tell them. If they can't give that much, they'll tell you, but that doesn't mean they won't give anything. Being open and honest with your constituents and keeping the lines of communication open makes them feel like they're part of your team, rather than just a financial backer.

We want to know what some of your fundraising ask tips and tricks. What have you found works the best when it comes to asking your constituents for donations? What hasn't worked? Share in the comments below!