A lot of non-profits face fears when it comes to fundraising. And, it’s totally normal! There are so many variables and implications that go along with ettiquette, strategy, communication, planning and how to ask for donations online.
For instance, a non-profit may be hesitant to reach out to certain supporters online because they don’t want it to feel impersonal; and they certainly have a point. Here’s the thing, though. The way I see it, online fundraising shouldn’t ever feel transactional. The simplicity and convenience is just an added benefit. People already expect to be able to give online and they’re ready for it.
So tell me… What if you could walk your audience through the fundraising experience like you would in person?
What if you segmented and had different experiences available for different purposes? What if you had a series of preplanned touch-points where people could interact with you along the way? Perhaps a particular action on their part leads to an email, phone-call or in-person meeting on your part?
I know, I know – a lot of what ifs!! But with fundraising, reaching out raises many questions and can trigger all kinds of fears and hesitations.
However, there are all kinds of ways to manage the fears and move past them – even the ones that stop you in your tracks!
Let’s talk about some of the ways to make it easier. We’ll share our strategy with you for making the ask feel more natural, genuine, and in line with your personal purpose.
Make it Personal
One may say, it’s not personal – but, it totally is! You’re making a connection here with somebody. You’re building a sense of trust. You’re looking at each other questioning, “Is this a good fit?” “Does this person represent what I stand for or what I’m trying to convey?” “Do our reasons for giving match up?”
So, in order to ask for donations online, during your initial stages of interaction, it’s important to create a sense of connection and common ground. Quickly establish trust through both anecdotes and statistics (qualitative and quantitative) proof of purpose and create both emotional and logical appeal. Your design for your marketing should be consistently branded and show credibility. Your marketing should be professional and in line with your mission.
In your initial interactions, you can focus on finding what you have in common. This is not the time to make an ask, but a time to lay a seed in which you’ll later sow.
Discover the Reasons Why
For anyone who shows interest in an organization or cause, there is a reason why – a story to tell, something that happened, an instance they saw, a feeling they felt. It’s up to you to learn what that reason it and why someone cares.
In order to do this, you’ll be able to strike up a conversation and talk about it. By asking insightful questions, you can learn their story and their background. Stories are powerful because they are so genuine.
Through talking and building your relationship, you can find out why someone cares in a real, raw, honest way and help them find their niche within your organization. You’ll be able to figure out out the best way they fit in to the whole.
Connect the Dots
As you’re working on developing the way in which this person fits in to the community and is most able to support the organization or cause, it’s time to talk about all the hopes and goals that he or she has in mind. What does he or she want to be part of? What does he or she envision accomplishing? What is your vision for doing this together? What is this person’s ideal way to become involved? What feels best?
At this point, you can build on the energy and offer ways to become more involved and engaged with the community. Stay focused on creating ways in which this person can act on his or her vision. This could be in the form of taking small steps before you actually ask for donations online.
Define what those steps are and be right there for support as you begin taking the first step together. As you lay the framework for this person getting more involved, remain supportive and be there every step of the way. Some people will want to get more involved in the organization than others; so remember to be flexible and adaptive to their wishes and their own personal idea of what it means to be involved (and that varies for everyone).
Your role changes to becoming more of a guide and cheering them on as they act on small stepping stones. Each of these steps help them reach their end goal. But, as we all know, distractions and hesitations come up along the way. It can be hard to stick a course and keep energy and interest; so, having someone to support you makes a big difference.
Make the Ask
By now, you can interest and comfortably ask for donations online. If there is a timely event like a special campaign or event, you can use it as a means to ask for a contribution. An invitation to an event can work as an ice-breaker; as can a special campaign.
When explaining options like contributing to a general campaign, special funds or foundations, or attending events, you can ask what feels best for them to begin with.
Having low barrier entry points, soft asks and easy ways to get involved or give will definitely make giving a delightful experience. Be sure to express appreciation for their generosity, time and effort after you ask for donations online.
Good luck on all the great things you’re accomplishing with your community! Happy Fundraising!
When coming from the heart, you’ll find that be able to build stronger relationships and more comfortably lead others to take action and do more social good together.