Asking for money—even for a worthy charity—can be a tough task. It may make you nervous, but if you practice and arm yourself with appropriate information, then you will be successful at requesting donations. Here are some things to avoid when requesting donations for a cause:
1. Sending and impersonal fundraising letter. Generally speaking, mass fundraising letter mailings that are impersonal are not usually successful. If you’re going to write a fundraising letter, make sure that it is personally addressed and appeals to a sense of emotion and empathy. You are more likely to secure donations if you paint a colorful picture about what your organization means to the community.
2. Not knowing what you will say. When requesting donations, flying blind is a really bad idea. Before approaching someone, have a little script or speech prepared so that you know exactly what you’re going to say. You have to ‘sell’ them on the cause and create a compelling reason for them to give.
3. Don’t hassle people. People don’t like it when you’re pushy or obnoxious. Make your case simple and persuasive, and if they still say ‘no’, give them a website or place where they can learn more should they change their minds, and leave it at that. It’s better to simply move on to the next potential donor rather than pushing people into something they’re not interested in. That might turn them against your entire organization.
4. Don’t forget to highlight the benefits. Is their donation tax deductible? Will it make their city parks prettier or help their child at school? Forgetting to highlight how donors can benefit personally from a monetary gift is a huge mistake—that can make the difference between success or failure in terms of fundraising efforts.