It's Never Too Late to Ask
It's never too late to scour your donor records to see which of your top donors have not given this year, or given at a level commensurate with their past history or capacity, or are behind on a gift commitment.
The simple fact is — we all need to be prompted and reminded.
Asking is a natural part of a donor relationship. We invest our resources — time, money and other assets - in people and organizations we believe in wholeheartedly.
Sometimes we make these investments on our own. But more often, we need prompting. It may be prompting by a request — that is the most specific. Or it may be a prompting by an interaction.
There is a reason why churches still take an offering each week, and why churches are moving to online giving and onsite giving stations as regular church attendance is declining.
Fundraising superstar (and my good friend and mentor) Jerry Panas tells the story of a Girl Scout who won an award as top cookie salesperson. The perhaps unlikely recipient was from an inner-city neighborhood. When asked for the secret behind her success, Jerry relates her sharing, "Sometimes you just have to stop the chit chat and ask." Excellent advice for all of us!
"Giving and Volunteering in the U.S.," a landmark Independent Sector study reported that 57 percent of American households were asked to give to nonprofit organizations and that 61 percent gave when asked. Repeatedly, when we survey and interview our clients' donors and non-donors, not being asked is at the top of the reasons people do not give - along with a lack of connectivity to the organization/cause or understanding of where the money will go.
Our greatest successes are rooted in asking people who are already connected to us. Asking is a part of genuine relationship building. In asking, you will be able to glean more about the donor's interests, concerns and circumstances, and you are really asking your best friends to vote with their wallet or pocketbook.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.