I’m a sucker for a good metaphor, and I love the one that Marc Pitman uses to describe fundraising:
“I like to think of the fundraiser as holding an electrical cord (the donor’s interests) and facing a wall of outlets (various aspects of the fundraiser’s organization). The fundraiser’s job is to get to know the donor well enough to know which outlet fits the electrical cord’s prongs. When the fundraiser plugs it in by asking for the gift, bang! The power starts to flow!”
It’s not just about randomly cramming the plug into a bunch of outlets and hoping one fits. By using Marc’s Get R.E.A.L. process, you’ll have a pretty good idea how to get the power flowing. It’s the heart of Marc’s book, Ask Without Fear! A Simple Guide to Connecting Donors With What Matters to Them Most (Amazon), which turns three this month.
I enjoy Marc’s blog, so when he asked me to help him celebrate the book’s birthday with a fresh review, I agreed. And I’m so glad that I did. It’s a fast read, written in clear language, with lots of examples and stories. It’s perfect for both professional and accidental fundraisers like board members — and they don’t even need to read the whole book. If you plug different people into different parts of the Get REAL process, they can read the chapter that relates to their specific assignment.
R is for Research
Marc describes how to do basic research on your donors, before you even talk to them, so you can narrow down the number of potential sockets. This is a great job for your computer-savvy or well-connected friends who aren’t necessarily outgoing.
E is for Engage
He then explains how to start the conversation with prospective donors to learn more about them, further narrowing down the number of sockets.
A is for Ask
With the knowledge of research and engagement, you know what to ask for — which socket to try first. Marc provides several concrete tips on how to actually ask, including which props to bring, what words to say, and what to do in response to anything other than a Yes.
L is for Love
Be kind to your donors and treat them like the caring individuals they are.
Marc also shares his favorite fundraising myths and tools for knowing your donors.
I highly recommend Ask Without Fear!
P.S. We are talking about asking in our weekly webinar series this week too . . . join us for Making the Ask: Getting People to Give, Volunteer, and More on Thursday. As of right now, 65 people are registered.