You Must Ask for Money to Get Money

You’re given the name of a prospect, and you’re told she is likely to give to your cause, particularly because of a project you’re recently started. Many years ago, the advice was “always start with a letter of introduction” to set up a potential time to meet. Too often, that letter winds up in the circular file. And email can quickly and easily be ignored or deleted. You need to pick up the phone and setup an in-person meeting. My advice is NOT to ask for money over the phone, but face-to-face.

There is an art to asking for money that comes with experience. How much should you ask for? How should you ask? Will you offend the person for asking for too much? Did you blow it and ask for too little? All those answers become obvious with practice. You can also take a fundraising workshop to help you solve some of those problems, but one thing is certain, if you do not ask for money, you will not get money.

What if a potential donor says no to a meeting? Oh No! You’re in exactly the same position you were before you made the phone call. No money came in from your donor. Now you’ve made a phone call and your potential donor turned down a meeting. There are some tactics you can use to make a meeting more likely, and I’ll cover that in a future post, but know that the only way to secure a meeting is to ask for one.

What if the donor says “yes” to your meeting? By the way, this is much more likely than a donor saying no to a meeting in the scenario I have outlined here. You have to have done your homework. How much has she given to similar causes? How passionate is she about what you are doing? How are you going to make this program so attractive to her that she will absolutely say yes? How are you going to make this about her and NOT about your organization?

More about Steve

I live in Bozeman, Montana with the love of my life. I needed only one date before proposing four days later. In October we will mark our 25th anniversary. Our 13-year-old son is a delight. Aside from our careers and our child, we have a dog, a cat and four horses to occupy our time. My career started as a volunteer with nonprofits, working up to Director positions over my 30+-year career. I learned the struggles faced by many nonprofits and have my philosophy on best methods for overcoming those challenges.