When you ask for a gift you may get a “yes,” a “no,” or perhaps a “not at this time.” If you ask for a specific amount you may receive that, or you might receive less; sometimes nonprofits receive more. Most importantly, you have to ask.
Some things to keep in mind: there will be many people who would like to give this year but are unable to. Others may have shifted their giving priorities. And there will be another group who is giving more than last year, and to groups they haven’t supported before. You won’t know a person’s situation until you ask.
The suggested response to every solicitation is simple: “Thank you!” This is intuitive when the response to your solicitation is “yes.” But what if you get a “no,” a “not at this time,” or substantially less than what you asked for? Our quick answer in this situation is, see above: Always say thank you. And do not be discouraged. Have an alternative ask in your “back pocket” – another way your prospective donors can support your nonprofit. Here are a few suggestions.
Invite your donor to consider giving in-kind services or resources. This could include services such as graphic design, legal, accounting, bookkeeping, gardening, or social media. You could ask for office space, meeting space, airline miles, or other resources you may need. Similar to this type of ask is the ask for volunteer leadership. You can ask donors to give of their knowledge, expertise, and relationships through board service or by becoming a member of an advisory council.
Think about those staffing responsibilities that continue to go unfilled. Like in-kind resources, you can ask a business leader if she or he would give “loaned staff.” This would be a person who could work with your nonprofit for a period of time to accomplish a specific project while remaining on the business’ payroll. Businesspeople might want to consider a cause marketing opportunity or a joint marketing opportunity that would bring a business’ brand to your constituents, and your nonprofit to the attention of the business’ customers or clients. Ask about potential partnerships and collaborations – a way to work together to achieve a mutually beneficial goal. This can include volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals, or it could include working together to accomplish a specific civic goal.
We meet with many nonprofit CEOs and administrators who have put their heart and soul into going after a gift and finding out later that their proposal was declined. We always encourage them to open up possibilities beyond a cash gift. It might be a little slower, but once a potential donor is involved in some way, the chances increase that they may invest in a meaningful way down the line.
[Copyright 2020 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Let us help you find your way through this unknown time. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.]