By Guest Blogger and Fundraising Expert Gail Perry
Why are people so nervous about asking others for support? It’s a natural reaction – all humans fear rejection. And in many circles, it’s just not considered appropriate to talk about money with other people.
So what’s an enterprising nonprofit to do when the cause is urgent, but its leaders are nervous about seeking that urgently needed financial support?
Now, in the midst of a terrible downturn, how do we still keep fundraising successfully? How do we approach donors in this time so they will give generously? How do we keep our volunteers and board members from using the economy as a reason to avoid fundraising?
How can you use the economic situation to motivate yourself and your volunteers rather than a reason to hold off? There’s more at stake right now for our causes than we can imagine. Action is what we need – and here’s how to do it.
Join me for our webinar on March 18 at Noon Eastern, where I will lay out the Four Steps to Fearless Fundraising. Join us to hear how you can set up your fundraising to win – even now. You can turn your board’s passion into action – and fundraising results.
1. Psych up – your mindset has got to be positive
2. Prepare – do your homework and set yourself up for success
3. Ask – appropriately and correctly
4. Follow-up – an ask is not an ask without follow-up
Step One: Psych Up!
Before you ever send people out to ask, you have to make sure they are psychologically ready. Their mindset and attitude have got to be positive.
What do athletes do when they prepare for a game? What do performers do before they go on stage? What do salespeople do before they walk in the door? They all envision success. They get themselves fired up and ready to achieve their goal.
This is how you get your leaders excited about making their (somewhat scary) solicitation calls:
First: get them totally connected to their passion for the cause. They have to feel the fire of their own energy and commitment to the need: help children in Africa, the homeless on our streets, sick children. Ask them why they care about the cause. Why do they choose to serve on the board? What legacy do they want to leave from their board service?
Give them a personal experience of the difference your organization is making in the world. Give them a story to tell that they have seen with their own eyes. Pull on their own hearts a bit. You can awaken your board members’ sleeping energy by visually and emotionally reminding them of the impact you are making in the world.
Be sure they know exactly what the money will be used for. You’d be amazed how little board members really know about the details of your work. They may have a general idea, but if you are explicit, it will help them immeasurably. Give them specific examples of the way donors’ gifts have changed people’s lives.
Cheerleading is vitally important. Don’t just hand out a list of 10 calls to make and expect quick results. You’ll be disappointed. Instead, create a barrage of cheerful news coming to them about your fundraising success.
I recently received a list of 10 calls to make as a board member to solicit sponsorships for an event. But I was very busy, and put it on the back burner. For some reason, I couldn’t muster my usual enthusiasm that week.
But then I started hearing success stories. Money was starting to flood in! I heard that tickets were really selling. Oh my, that was so very exciting! Not only did I call my list of prospects, but I told everyone I saw that week that they needed to get on the bandwagon. I told them that this was something they didn’t want to miss. I was on fire for the cause. And it was easy and natural!
Ask your board leaders to sit in on the call. It will help them renew their own passion and energy. Then they can set a grand example for everyone else!
The world needs every one of us right now. There’s more at stake than we know. We need to be at our very best. There’s a new future we must create for our country and our world. And there’s no time to waste.