Will They ‘Vote’ for You?

When I was in junior high school, I ran for Class Secretary. While I didn’t win, I learned a lot about myself – and a little about elections (and about asking) – through the process. First and foremost was, you need to have a platform. A very close second was, you need to ask for the vote.

The question I have for you, just two days after the election, is: will your potential donors ‘vote’ for you by making a gift o your organization?

Let’s talk about the first thing I learned in junior high: we need to tell people why they should contribute to our organizations. Most often, this is done through a case statement of some sort. Sharing your story is important because it:

  1. Shares about the importance of your organization and about the importance of what you do. This is done by talking about the needs of the community you serve.
  2. Gives you an opportunity to talk about the impact of what you do and how your community will be better as a result of what you do.
  3. Helps to establish credibility by telling about why your organization is uniquely situated to accomplish what you are attempting.
  4. Outlines how people can join in and be a part of the organization.
  5. Finally, it helps the agency focus their story in way that’s more easily shared. What our agencies do is complex and it can be tempting to share everything when someone asks for more information. By taking the time to focus our story, we can easily provide a brief overview.

And the second thing I learned: just like in the elections process, when we work for nonprofits and need to raise money, we need to ask for the gift. It can’t be a suggestion. It can’t be intimated. It has to be a direct ask. By the time you ask for a major gift, you should already know enough about the prospect to ask for a specific amount for a specific project. There are some ways around that, but it’s best practice to be specific.

Hopefully this will help you get started. If you’d like more instruction on asking for a gift or about preparing a case statement, please visit www.fundraisingjumpstart.com to learn more about my home study program. It’s 8-modules and will walk you through setting up (or growing) your strategic fundraising program.

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