I am going to ask a question, and you might answer it quickly, but after that initial answer, read a bit and then ask yourself again.
Are you currently asking for donations from individuals?
I’m sure when asked this we, myself included, would say a resounding – YES! of course we are asking for donations — we just aren’t getting enough to meet our needs. So let’s talk a bit about this — and I’m sure you have an idea of where I am going but stay with me anyway.
How are you asking? If your only ask is a direct mail campaign that isn’t meeting your needs, I would put forth you need to review and enhance your efforts. Okay, this is a bit obvious, but what isn’t obvious is the next question.
Who in your organization likes to ask for money?
I’m not asking this lightly or flippantly. I truly mean it, who have you identified in your organization who likes to ask for money? If you can’t say one person, you need to find one, now.
It can be a staff person, the Executive Director and/or Development Director could be the person. But maybe neither of them actually likes to ask for donations directly from a donor. You need to find that out right now. And it is okay to find out. You need to know.
If it isn’t a staff person, it could be a current or past board member. You need to find them right now. I’m not talking about your next golf tournament committee chair. You might need that person too. But what you really need is the person after the golf tournament who is going to call upon those who attended to get them even more connected (cultivated), so your person can then ask for the donation (solicit), and then others who love your mission but could never ever see themselves asking for a donation can keep your donor appreciated, informed, and part of the family (stewardship).
If you don’t have someone who likes to ask someone directly for a gift you will most likely never feel truly successful in your fundraising efforts. And, I promise these folks are out there.
You can begin this conversation today. The key is not to be afraid to fully answer the question – are you currently asking for donations from individuals?