Non-Profit organizations are difficult to finance, even in the best economies. When a business model involves relying on people to generously give you free money, asking for donations is an intimidating process. Finding the right balance between funding your business and annoying or driving away potential donors is tricky, but necessary to ensure your goals are met. If you are struggling to find the best ways to ask for donations, consider these 5 tips!
1. Choose your Timing
Timing really is everything when it comes to donations. There are certain times of the month and year when people and businesses feel a little more generous with their income. Consider reaching out toward the end of a business’s fiscal year, when they will be ascertaining exactly how much money they have left to spend before the new year starts. For individual donations, the holiday season may be your first guess, but in reality, so many charities asking for help during November and December, that it may be better to wait until after tax season. Once people have the extra money from their tax return, they may be more willing to open up their wallets than they were when they were buying Christmas gifts!
2. Understand your Audience
This should go without saying, but it is vitally important to understand which types of people will be most likely to donate to your cause. For example, if your non-profit is locally based, you should focus on reaching out to locally owned businesses or people who live in the neighborhood. It is worth keeping in mind that someone who supports your nonprofit might not necessarily donate money. Personal finances are often a barrier for people like college students or working parents. Target your donation requests to those who have the resources to make your goals a reality.
3. Communicate your Goals
When asking for a donation, someone is more likely to donate when they know exactly how their money will make a difference. Rather than a general donation request, have a specific goal in mind when you ask. For example, “Our goal is to buy a new vehicle so our staff can reach out to more people in need, so we need X dollars, your donation will help us reach that goal!”, sounds much more appealing than “Please consider donating so we can help people in need”. When people and businesses have a clear idea of how their money will help, they are more likely to donate.
4. Personalize your Request
People like to feel special, so when you ask for donations, tailor the request as much as possible. Use first names when appropriate, and ask for donations that fit the person or businesses values whenever possible. For example, if you are asking for donations to buy a new vehicle, a car dealership or auto insurance company would be ideal targets, but organizations like car clubs are also a good place to seek donations. Casting a wide net doesn’t have to mean that everyone gets the same standard fill-in-the blank request.
5. Follow Up
Whenever you receive a donation, no matter how small, thank you notes are an absolute must. You never know when someone who donated $5 today will have the ability to donate $500 tomorrow. Additionally, if you have the option to set up an annual or recurring donation, the donors will love to hear updates on how their money has made a difference. Staying in contact with past donors is also a great way to bring in new donors!
Gathering donations is definitely a daunting task, but with these tips, hopefully, it will be a little easier. For more fundraising tips and donation advice, check us out today!