The Fifth Annual Walk for Change is just a couple of weeks away at this point, and it’s time to start cracking open wallets and getting donations in to BARCC! We want to make this year’s walk the biggest ever, with more walkers, more performers, and more sweet, sweet currency than any previous year.
If anyone else is like me, though, asking people for money is a really hard thing to do. BARCC has some great tools on the walk site to help get people started with fundraising, especially in setting up First Giving pages. I wanted to supplement those resources with some more general tools for fundraising. Thankfully, I know people who pretty much professionally ask for money for a living. For those of you out there who are planning to walk with BARCC on the 11th of April, here are some good pointers from Robbie Samuels, Special Events Manager at GLAD, for fundraising (thanks Robbie!).
Ten Tips for Making an Ask
- Make your gift first. Make your gift before you ask someone else to give. Someone who has already donated to a cause has more credibility than someone who hasn’t. It also indicates to your potential donors how important the cause is to you. If you are trying to recruit walkers, make sure you’re registered to walk yourself!
- Be positive, sincere and passionate about the cause. Show your potential donors how important the organization is to you! Upon greeting a potential prospect, be upbeat and passionate about the organization and its mission. BARCC’s website has good stats and background, in case you want to brush up on its institutional mission.
- State the need. After greeting your prospect, re-state the importance of the organization and how it makes a positive difference in the world.
- Ask for a specific amount. It is critical to ask the prospect for a specific amount within a specific time-frame. For example, “I’m asking you to support the BARCC Walk with a donation of $50 this year - will you do that?” Ask, then be quiet and listen. Also, it helps to gauge ahead of time what you reasonably expect your donors to be able to give - $50 may be way too much for some people, but way too little for others.
- Be quiet and confident. It is critical not to say anything after making your ask. The seconds that follow may be uncomfortable, so prepare for it. Eye contact and supportive facial gestures can indicate that you have confidence in your organization and cause.
- Listen to the response. Really listen to what your potential donor says. This is where a lot of fundraisers trip up because they are nervous, and talk too much. Listen to the donor’s response and determine if the they are going to give at the level requested, a lower level, or if they need to think about it.
- Thank the prospect and respond. It is important to thank them sincerely for their time and consideration of an investment in your organization. Regardless of whether they donate or not, a sincere thank you is essential. Even if a potential donor can’t give money to BARCC right now, they might still be interested in supporting us, and perhaps in the future they will be able to donate.
- Create a sense of urgency and determine next steps. Ask the prospect when the appropriate time would be to follow up to find out if they would like to give, if they cannot give you an answer right away. It is important to relay a time frame upon which you are working. For example, “May I call you the end of next week to learn your answer?” Ending with a specific plan will help you follow-through more comfortably.
- Respond in writing within 24 hours, once you hear a decision. This act will relay a sense of urgency and importance. It’s also respectful - it shows your donors that they matter enough to you for you to take time to contact them. Again, building relationships is almost as important as the donation – treating potential donors with respect will make it easier to ask again in the future, regardless of whether they donate this time or not.
- Follow up in the agreed upon time frame. Lastly, put the time to call the prospect on your calendar and make sure you follow through. Representing your organization in a professional manner is important. Make sure you do what you said you would do.
These tips are basic, but they can be a step in making fundraisers feel a little more confident about asking for cash. For anyone who is interested in getting a little more practical experience with this, Robbie and NOMAS-Boston (the pro-feminist men’s group I work with) are hosting a free fundraising workshop on Friday, March 19th, at GLAD’s offices in Downtown Crossing. Check out the event details on Facebook here
*A quick follow-up from last week - I wanted to thank everyone who had such kind words for the post about being an ally. I’m glad it resonated with some folks, but I definitely felt like there were some other, better writers out there who have tackled these issues well before I tried. So, for those who are interested in investigating this concept further, here’s a cool link from Hugo Schwyzer, one of my favorite pro-feminist male bloggers, on the subject.
“The faux pro-feminist corollary is trying to prove to as many women as possible that you, their male feminist friend, are somehow different from all the other guys. The reward isn’t sex or homosocial validation - the reward is being told that you’ve done what other men couldn’t do, and that’s earn trust. While hardly predatory, there’s still something problematic about this kind of ‘safe seduction’ behavior - because it places the man’s ego, rather than women’s safety, front and center.”
ALSO - if you want to actually TALK about being an ally in a supportive and awesome way, why not check out Socializing for Justice’s discussion section on Allying, getting started in soon? Check their calendar for the official dates!