Getting Your (Potential) Donors To Want To Give

Sections of this topic

    Last week the focus was on learning about and understanding what your constituents and potential donors like about you.

    Now, assuming that you’ve mastered that aspect of the development process, let’s look at what else you need to know about your potential donors; and, what you would have to do to influence those potential donors.

    Once you know which aspects of your mission and which program(s) are most important to your constituents, the next question is: How do you turn those interested/concerned constituents into regular donors … even major donors ??

    The easy answer goes back to the concept that donors give to satisfy their own needs, not the needs of the nonprofit organization. Another way to phrase that is that, “People give because giving makes them feel good.” If it didn’t make them feel good, they wouldn’t give.

    A basic principle of fundraising, of development, is having the right person asking for the right amount, at the right time under the right circumstances.

    So, who is the right person to ask for the gift ? It’s easier to answer that question if it’s personal. To whom are you most likely to say, “Yes,” when asked for a gift?

    Asking for the right amount is important from two perspectives: asking for more than a potential donor is willing/able to give can only get you a refusal; and, asking for significantly less than a potential donor is willing/able to give will not allow the donor to obtain the greatest feeling of satisfaction, and may create the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing.

    The right time to ask for the gift is when the donor is ready to say, “Yes.” You have to know when that is !!

    The right circumstances involve location and environment. It can be at the donor’s home/office; when s/he is alone or with a significant other; while on a tour of the nonprofit; at a meal; on an airplane; in a car; or, any other appropriate place.

    Sounds easy, doesn’t it ??!! Of course you’re asking, “How do I know who the right person is, what the right amount might be, and when-and-where to ask?”

    If you were the prospective donor, the right person would be someone whose opinion you care about, someone who you care for, someone you respect, someone you want to get to know, someone who meets any/all qualifications you’d consider important/essential, a person to whom you would respond positively if s/he asked you to make a gift….

    Since (except for the donor acquisition process) you should not be in the business of cold-solicitation, which is, most often, a waste of time, your organization should have done some research. You should have learned what you could about your prospective donor from a distance, and you should have created an actual relationship with him/her. (For more on Donor Acquisition … click here)

    Once you have the “relationship,” the questions get answered … Next Week, some thoughts about the substance of the “relationship.”

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