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How Not To Ask For Money

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Here's something that might be relevant to our current project on begging. It's a 9 point list on how NOT to ask for money, found at
1. Not Asking. People have been heard to say, "If we do good work, the money will follow." Money doesn't have legs. You have to ask for it.

2. Beating around the bush. Because some people think asking for money violates good manners, they'll hint at it rather than asking directly. "We are so broke I just don't know how we're going to pay the bills. By the way, I just love your new car."

3. Dishonesty. Don't lie to get the money. It's much better in the long run to be truthful about what you're doing and what you need the money for. Don't say things just because you think that's what your prospective donor wants to hear.

4. Begging, apologizing or demanding. Donors give because they believe in what you're doing. So you have to believe too. You're asking them to support the work that your organization is doing, so you don't need to beg, you have nothing to apologize for, and demanding is inappropriate.

5. Ignorance about your organization's financial picture. If you're asking for money, you better be able to explain how it's going to be spent, where else you're getting money from, etc.

6. Asking for too little. We tend to ask for less than we need because we don't believe anybody will give it to us. It's better to ask for what you need, as long as it's appropriate, than to ask for an amount that won't get the job done.

7. Making assumptions. Often we don't ask because we've decided ahead of time that the person we're thinking of won't want to give. Unless you have a very concrete reason for knowing that the person is not a good prospect, never assume or make decisions for someone else. If they can't give, they are perfectly capable of saying no on their own.

8. Giving up. Persistence is the key to successful fundraising. 50% of your asking will end up in no's. So you just have to keep asking and "get to yes."

9. Stopping at yes. Remember to go back to those who have said yes once. If they've said yes once, then you want them to consider supporting you again. Make them into loyal supporters. Don't forget to ask again.

Notes from Shirley:
I found it interesting that begging is #4 on the list. Which brings me to the question:
Asking for donations, what is it really? Isn't fundraising a form of begging? How is it essentially different from  panhandling? What do you guys think? Why is it that asking for help for someone else is more acceptable, more respectable,  and generates more money than asking for help for yourself?

As for the Prayer Project we've also been following, it's a Sunday Morning Cartoon with some interesting comments. Check it out if you feel so inclined.


Cindy H said...

I think that asking for money for someone else rather than yourself is more acceptable because the intent seems unselfish. I can't see myself ever asking for a donation for me (or even my family) but have certainly helped organize fundraisers for others.

I even respond differently to fundraisers depending upon who organized it.

This is a little off the subject, but here is another point to ponder: It seems like people who are having their own financial difficulties are often the ones MOST likely to donate to others. Does anyone else find that to be true?

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