Financial Management

5 mistakes to avoid when asking donors for money

Donor management software can provide nonprofit organizations with the names of donors who have given money to their cause in the past. If these donors haven’t contributed in a while, nonprofit leaders should reach out and ask them to donate again. However, there are right and wrong ways to request these donations. To keep long-term donors, nonprofits should avoid these five mistakes when asking for money:

1. Not researching donors beforehand
It’s important for nonprofit leaders to find out some background information about donors before asking them for money again. According to Nonprofit Hub, if nonprofit managers want to get into a donor’s heart, they should find out what causes they are passionate about, if they have a history of giving and their common concerns and fears about donating. This type of information is easy to find with donor management software. When nonprofit leaders ask these individuals to donate funds, they should bring some of these points up. For example, if a donor has contributed money for the last 10 years, it would be wise for a nonprofit leader to say something like, “My organization appreciates that you have donated to our cause for so long. The money you have given us has really made an impact.”

2. Being boring
Some nonprofit leaders are so concerned about being safe that they sound boring when asking for donations. If it seems like a nonprofit manager is reading from a script, a donor will likely become disinterested. Nonprofit leaders should focus on having meaningful conversations with donors and treating them like they have known them for years. Nonprofit Hub suggests not being afraid to ask questions like, “What do you think is the biggest challenge we face in this area?”

“Nonprofit leaders should focus on having meaningful conversations with donors.”

3. Not asking for a dollar amount
Instead of asking for a specific dollar amount, some nonprofit staff members simply ask donors if they will support their organization’s cause. This question is very vague and may not get a nonprofit organization the donation it is looking for. Marc Pitman, an international leadership coach and fundraising trainer, recommends asking donors for an exact dollar amount. Doing this can help prevent donors from making an offer that is too low.

4. Not being flexible in what they ask for
It is important for nonprofit leaders to have some flexibility when asking donors for money. For example, if a donor agrees to give $50,000 to an organization but wants to spread it out over two years, it is wise to still consider his or her offer. It might not be exactly what the nonprofit organization asked for, but it still can help the cause in a big way.

5. Talking too much
Many nonprofit staff members fall into the trap of talking donors’ ears off in the hopes they will give money. However, allowing a bit of silence can actually prompt a donor to speak about how passionate is about the cause a nonprofit leader is raising money for. Once donors finish saying how important the cause is to them, they may feel more inclined to donate.