The Best Advice for Fundraisers: Don’t Ask For Money

You’re focusing your pitch on the wrong thing. Focus on “solving the problem” instead. 

Asking for money is hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. It doesn’t come naturally, at least not to most people.

So take some advice from fundraisers who have been doing this successfully for a long, long time. If you think asking someone for money is hard to do, don’t do it. That’s right.

Don’t ask donors for money. 

Ask them to solve a problem instead.

Not only will your fundraising pitch become a lot easier for you to deliver, it will inspire the donor to give even more money. 

So the next time you’re getting ready to raise money, think about your mission as a problem that requires a solution. 

Tell donors what the world looks like in its current state. “Farmers can’t feed their families because they can’t yield enough crops to sell!”

Then, tell donors what the world could look like. “Imagine a world where farmers could afford better education for their children… Where they could sell their produce to neighboring impoverished communities.”

Finally, it’s time to issue your call-to action. 

Instead of this: “Would you please consider a donation of $18 to Organization X?” Try this: “Would you please feed a hungry village by investing $18 in their irrigation system?”

The beauty of this approach is that you can use it in every medium: an in-person (or virtual) solicitation, email marketing, social media, video, etc. Your message should always follow the arc of Problem>Solution>Call To Action. 

The main reason why you should adopt this approach is that it works, plain and simple. People give more money when they understand exactly what your cause looks like in its current state, what your cause could look like with more funding, and the impact that demonstrates why that change is important.

It’s the difference between this: 

For the first time since the establishment of ORGANIZATION, we need your help in order to continue our important work. As a result of the pandemic, the normal flow of donations has decreased dramatically. Without immediate support, ORGANIZATION will not be able to continue.

And

Your donation to ORGANIZATION ensures that our children have everything they need to flourish. From basic necessities like toothbrushes and soap to educational and therapeutic opportunities like school books and calculators, your donation makes a world difference.

The second reason why this approach is smart fundraising is that it continuously challenges you to define and refine your offering. Take 90 seconds and write down what you consider to be the problem” that your organization seeks to solve. Then go ask your staff to do the same. Ask your board members. 

See if there is consensus. You’ll be surprised at the results. Some may say that hunger is the key issue; others may say that it’s the feeling of abandonment; and others may say that it’s hygiene that should be the focus, not irrigation. 

You can crystallize the message over time. That’s not something you need to worry about now.

It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be a problem, a problem that donors can solve.  

Rosh Hashanah: The Perfect Time to Launch a Fundraiser

Pop quiz: Do you know the #1 reason why people don’t give to your organization?

The #1 reason why people don’t give is because you haven’t asked them to. 

Here at CauseMatch, we often speak to fundraisers who have a serious reluctance to ask for money, especially during Tishrei. After all, they say, donors are bombarded by organizations asking for money.  

“Asking now is a nuisance.”

”People are focused on other things.”

“This year with all of the chaos, our donors are busier than ever; they can’t be bothered.”

When you allow yourself to think like that, you not only limit your potential, you do your donors a disservice. You deny them the opportunity to do a mitzvah, a chesed, an act of generosity during the most important time of a year. 

If you approach fundraising as an expression of a donor’s values, your donors will appreciate the chance to donate. They will say to themselves, “Yes, I was looking for an opportunity to do a mitzvah and head into Rosh Hashanah feeling good about myself… and this solicitation is a perfect way to generate that pride.”

This year, however, is different. This year, every single organization and donor is dealing with the effects of COVID-19. This year, you have new challenges. You’ve had to change the way you raise money and provide services. 

It’s more important than ever before to approach your upcoming campaign wisely, with empathy, and with messaging that clearly conveys the impact of a donor’s gift. 

Why now? Why during Tishrei?

Rosh Hashanah is a prime place on the calendar to ask for money. 

1) People are hungry to do mitzvot. They are actively looking to fill the world with acts of kindness. 

In just a couple of weeks, we will daven “u’teshuva, u’tefilla, u’tzedakah ma’averin et roa hagezerah,” that “repentance, prayer, and charity will tear up the evil decree.”

This period within the Jewish calendar is specially focused on becoming the best versions of ourselves. That best version of a person includes donating.

Your fundraising is a service to donors. When they donate and help a person in need, they perform an act of kindness, an act that they actively WANT to perform. Do not deny them this opportunity. 

2) If you don’t ask them to give now, someone else will. This is a busy time in the field with a lot of noise to cut through. It’s not only important to ask but to ask often and to ask smartly. 

Your donors are busy with short attention spans. If you don’t get in front of them, another organization will send out a mailer and beat you to it. 

This is your opportunity to stand out from the other fundraisers out there. Give your donors a problem to solve, something they will feel GREAT about accomplishing through their gift. Then, when they are faced with important choices regarding where to send their tzedakah, they will think of your organization first.  

3) A New Year means a head start.

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot are indeed a gift from the Heavens for so many spiritual reasons. 

From a fundraising point of you, these chagim allow you to get a head start on the incredible rush that begins on Giving Tuesday and ends on January 1. Donors are getting ready to line up all their charitable contributions, and you get to begin the race before the starting gun goes off. 

The CauseMatch Way

If there’s anything we have learned from fundraising over the past five months of corona chaos, it is this: Make it easy for your donors to give, and they will respond in kind. 

When you launch a campaign with CauseMatch, you can work with a dedicated fundraising coach who will guide you in mining your data. You will execute a smart, inspiring fundraiser on a safe, reliable platform that has a fully customized dashboard. You can take advantage of the data-backed approach to crafting creative materials (campaign page copy, emails, social media posts, etc.) that will make donors feel like heroes. And, the CauseMatch support team is there to help troubleshoot every step of the way. 

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, schedule a call with a fundraising specialist today and learn about the opportunities that CauseMatch can help you seize. 

When the mad rush of December rolls around, you’ll be happy you did.

The Research-Based Evidence to Running a Fundraising Campaign Now

Are you nervous about fundraising now?

Think your donors are too preoccupied with COVID to worry about your cause?

Are you trying to find the right motivation to turn to your donorbase and ask them for help?

Let the data guide you.

Click here to learn how you can find the bravery and fortitude to fundraise even during these trying times. This FREE report culls data from fundraising campaigns over the last three months… that means DURING the pandemic.

What you will see will inspire you to take action. It will give you the datapoints you need to convince your board that now – yes now! – is the exact right time to fundraise. It will generate the confidence you need to ask your major donors for a major commitment.

It’s easy to sit back and say that this just doesn’t feel like the right time to ask for a gift. But the numbers show otherwise.

In times of trial, donors want to help. When there is a problem about an issue that donors care about, they want to solve it. It is your job to paint a picture of what the world currently looks like… and what it could look like with donor generosity.

Well, the world has turned upside down. You are worried about your organization’s future. That’s where your donors can help.

Give them the opportunity to respond. Give them the chance to be generous. Give them the space to be heroes.

The data tells us that they’ll don their capes. But only if you ask.