Generosity. Donor Development. Fundraising. Giving.
No matter which way you say it, if you’re a nonprofit or ministry of any kind, you are having to raise money to chase a vision you have. Right?
- Nonprofits: the ask for donations to your cause never ends.
- Ministries: you have large giving campaigns that require you to sit down with givers and ask for financial gifts.
Regardless of what the cause is, the makeup of an ask remains very similar…and can be difficult to do if you don’t have a plan.
We recently had Russell Cooper, co-founder of Tailored Fundraising, on our podcast and he provided us with some helpful and practical insight into how to make that ask, and get a generous response from your donors almost every time you do. If that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what does!
3 Most Important Elements to Getting a Generous Response:
1. The Person
Russell talks about how important it is to first qualify the person you are planning on making the ask to. Remember that, although your cause is deeply rooted in your heart, it won’t necessarily connect to every single person. And that’s ok. Qualifying your potential donors helps ensure that the people you are talking to are more apt to have an open ear for your ask.
Russell mentions 2 types of qualifying processes in the interview:
Hard qualifying process: Direct and to the point. You ask if they are interested in meeting for purpose of partnership.
- You don’t have a lot of time for the ask
- You have a lot of contacts for the ask
Example: “I want to sit and talk with you about making a financial gift to this XYZ cause- are you interested?”
Soft qualifying process: Requires giving them much more information to prompt a potential gift.
- You have more time
- You don’t have many contacts, so you have to form relationships first to meet your financial goal
Example: “I’d love to sit down with you and talk about this ministry and see if it peaks your interest.”
2. The Place
This is simple but often overlooked. Make sure where you ask them is thought through. Restaurants and coffee shops are great for a light chit chat but for an ask, they are distracting.
Make sure the place meets these criteria if you want to increase the likeliness that they engage and give:
- Low distractions
- Comfortable (their home, office, etc.)
- Convenient for them (don’t ask them to go over the river and through the woods to meet you)
The place and time for the ask needs to be specifically defined before you meet.
In the podcast, Russell talks about a huge FAIL he once made in an ask attempt when he didn’t establish the specifics. Listen here at time stamp 14:39.
3. The Ask
Always tie the ask to impact- sometimes people make the mistake of tying it to themselves or the organization. When you tie it into a person or organization, it can go into a black hole of intangibles for a donor. Intangibles are not activating. Tell them a story and show them exactly what they are giving to.
Lastly, make sure the donor knows how they fit into the overall plan. This is huge.
For example: “We are inviting 15 families to consider giving $100 a month and I wanted to know if you would be one of those families.”
This helps them understand that there is a plan and a vision for accomplishing the cause they are considering. And this is especially important when asking for very large financial gifts.
The donor never feels alone in the funding. Have a plan and communicate how they fit into it.
Well, there you have it! The three key elements to getting a generous response almost every time you ask. Now go put these into action and start moving the needle.
We are so thankful for our interview with Russell- it was so inspiring and practical. Unfortunately, there were so many great points in the conversation, we couldn’t fit them all into the blog, so make sure to listen to the podcast. One of our favorite points was something he mentions at the very end: The most common mistake that is made when asking a donor for money- check it out on time stamp 26:10.