Understanding Donors - Why Do People Give?
The bottom line is that people give the most money where they are the most involved. Strangers don’t give a great deal of money. Friends do. Our goal as nonprofits must be to seek INVOLVEMENT as well as dollars. OWNERSHIP as well as donations. We must rely on the on-going and increasing support of friends.
Effective asking doesn’t make your prospects feel like they are being “beat up” for money every five minutes. Effective asking creates ownership, involvement and on-going support. Recognize that donors hate to be sold to, and that fundraisers and donors must be on the same side of the table.
Fundraising is entirely inseparable from the cause and donors are shareholders in our cause. It is as much theirs as it is ours.
Fundraising is ultimately an exchange; you have something the donor wants and the donor has something you want. When the exchange is made, it is magic for all involved. After all, doesn’t every parent have a need to see their children maintain Hindu values?
Although it can be anxiety producing to ask for money the first few times you do it, it is thrilling to get a commitment from a major donor. The most effective way to raise the most amount of funds from people is also the oldest way. Asking for it. Although there is no quick fix” in fundraising, it is easy to say “no” to a letter or a phone call. It is hard to say no to your face!
5 Pointers on Fundraising
1. Our real competitors are not other charities, but the less tangible adversaries of distrust, uncertainty, fear of criticism, inertia, and confusion.
2. Present a positive picture; your donors are betting on a winner. Donors like to contribute to strong agencies with a solid future. (This is especially important when presenting the financial information.) "We need your help getting this project off the ground. This Temple will be solid and will serve our community for several hundred years."
3. You and the donor are on the same side of the table. We are a team working together for a common interest - "We have the vision. You have the resources. Together we will ..."
4. The bottom line for the donor is - What's in it for me. How will the donor benefit? A sense of community. Keeping their children interested in the culture. The feelings of peace and solace that come from visiting the Temple. Feelings of magnanimity.
5. Be proud of your cause and your organization. Remember you are not begging. Your organization is contributing a valuable service to the community.
WHAT KEEPS US FROM ASKING?
Now, the time has come. The potential donor is willing to see you. You head for the door and STOP COLD! "What keeps us from going? What keeps us from asking for money?"
The response almost always will be "FEAR OF REJECTION"
What does it feel like? Rotten. Is it permanent? We hope not. Does it happen often? You bet.
Some requests will result in rejection. So what? Rejection is a way to find out how the donor can become more involved in the future. Many rejections turn into positive responses in the future - after we learn how we best can involve the prospects. If you get to have a face to face discussion with a prospect to talk about your agency, you are ninety percent there! If the prospect cannot donate at this time, they almost always will tell you why and you may learn what you need to know to turn the rejection into an acceptance in the future!
Remember, you may "lose them in the wash," but you'll "get them in the rinse!"
"What Keeps Us from Asking" from How to Ask for Money without Fainting by Susan M. Scribner.
• 60 percent of an organization’s income comes from 10 percent of the donors;
• 15 - 25 Percent of the income comes from 20 percent of the donors;
• the remaining 15 - 25 percent comes from 70 percent of the donors.
In other words, the vast majority of of the gifts you get will be small, but the majority of the income will be from a few big donations.