7 Tips for Asking for Donations for a Fundraiser

In our previous blog post, we talked about how to set up donations through text. But how do you actually ask for donations, face to face? 

Asking for money is always a bit uncomfortable for both parties involved. It’s intimidating, and you can never know for sure if someone cares enough to fork over the money they worked for. It’s not that people don’t want to donate, it’s that there’s a total communication break down when trying to reach potential donors. So how do you reach those people? How do you ask for money without it being intimidating or awkward?

Don’t sweat it! Here are 7 tips for breaking down that communication barrier:

  1. Do some research on those who will be attending the fundraiser. Donors want to connect with a cause, and it’s through you that they do that. They also don’t want to be seen as just dollar signs. Doing your research will help you approach them on a personal level, make them feel valuable, and can even help you to better understand your cause’s demographic.
  2. We’ve all been told that practice makes perfect, but no matter how many doors you go to, your voice still shakes. What gives? The thing is, you can’t practice when you’re already nervous. Immersion doesn’t always work, especially when it comes to communication barriers.
  3. You can’t drop someone into another country with 0 knowledge of the language and expect them to pick it up just by being immersed in it. They need a basis to grow from. Just like those language learners, you also need a basis to grow from. Do this by practicing your ask for donations alone in front of a mirror, and with friends. Eventually, it’ll be second nature.
  4. Be up front with your goal. If you reel someone into a casual conversation, and then drop it on them that you’re trying to raise money for your cause, they might feel deceived. It’s best to lead with what your goal honestly is and rely on the merit of your cause, deliverance of convincing information, and ability to answer any and all questions in relation to it.
  5. Just because it’s not about you personally doesn’t mean you shouldn’t personalize it. Have fun with it. Having fun with even the most serious of causes (ex: “Save The Boobies!”) shows that you care, but also makes you into someone people don’t dread having to spend time with. If your fundraisers are fun, people will be excited to come and happy to donate so that they can get invited to the next one! Boring should never be a go-to.
  6. While you’re having fun, have fun with a little psychology, too. People are excited to be wanted, heard, even needed! They want to help, but helping financially feels impersonal and doesn’t tap into their value as an individual. Try asking someone for their advice instead of their money, and you may be surprised to wind up with a check in your hand!
  7. Engage conversations by letting donors speak. Start by asking a broad question like, “Why do you care about saving the rainforest?” and wait for an answer. Somebody will answer, but once they do, don’t move forward with your program. Say something engaging to show active listening, like, “I see”, but keep eye contact. The speaker will take this as a queue to continue speaking. Remember when I said that people like to be heard? This person will feel important and more connected to the cause, thus becoming much more likely to donate!