How to Ask Major Donors for Money

Dec 19, 2019Donor Ask Language, Donors, Fundraising, Leadership, Message, Nonprofits, Philanthropy, Relationships

How-to-Ask-Major-Donors-for-Money Donor Ask Language Donors Fundraising Leadership Message Nonprofits Philanthropy Relationships

How to Ask Major Donors for Money

Are you struggling with how to ask major donors for money?

The truth is, most fundraisers wait and wait and wait and put off asking a major donor for money because they either 1) don’t know what to say or 2) fear being rejected.

Maybe you are in that camp of holding back because you don’t know what to say.

That’s common.

So let’s discuss how you can ask major donors for money.

Philanthropy Decisions

Last week, my fiancé and I were discussing our philanthropy as the year comes to an end.

We had been to two nonprofit events that day.

As we sat there reflecting on the day, I shared that I wanted to make a gift to the first organization. He agreed.

What made me feel so strongly about that nonprofit’?

Our Experience as a Donor

Clearly, we had a great experience at the event we attended.

To demonstrate, when we arrived, we were greeted with open arms and directed to the event.

We sought people we knew, including the board chair, executive director, and development director.

Without question, the executive director made us feel like we were the only people in the room, and she was waiting for us to arrive.

She made us feel special.

From the program, it was clear the problems the organization was solving, the successes, and the alarming statistics signaling that more work is needed.

Additionally, a young lady shared on stage her story of how the organization changed her life and how the staff was there to help her when she so desperately needed help.

Again, we intend to make a gift.

To ensure we make a gift, here’s what steps the executive director needs to make following the event to ask and secure a major gift from donors like us:

Take Action Now!

The executive director should call one of us to:

#1. Say Thank You

Thus, share how excited she was to see us and have us join them at the event. Thank us for being there. Moreover, let us know our presence at the event means so much to the organization.

#2. Make a Personal Connection

Also, share something from our personal conversation at the event. She was inquiring about our new businesses, our holiday plans, and our travels.

Without question, continue to make the conversation about the donor.

#3. Make an Ask

Above all, ask if we would consider contributing $1,000 to the XYZ program, a program highlighted at the event. Explain exactly how the $1,000 would be used and the impact of our gift.

She knows we feel strongly about supporting this program based on our conversations and past giving.

In fact, here’s how that call might go:

Ask Language to Use

Hi Nancy,

It was so good to have you and Ralph at the event last week. We are thrilled that you took the time to be there and learn more about the XYZ program.

(pause – allow for donor to respond)

I am excited about your new business ventures. I can’t wait to hear more about it when I see you next.

(pause – allow for donor to respond)

Knowing how strongly you feel about the XYZ program and you have witnessed the impact, would you consider making a gift of $1,000 to support the program this year?

Your gift would allow us to offer services to three youth on the waiting list for our services.

No doubt, your gift would make all the difference in the world to these young adults.

(pause – allow for donor to respond)

Read more here about How to Secure Year-End Gifts.

Summary: Capitalize on Engaged Prospective Donors

To summarize, your taking action by contacting potential major donors who have attended your events or been engaged with your organization is critical. That is, if you want to raise more money for your organization. And you do!

You must capitalize on the engagement of prospective major donors.

I want you to bring in those year-end major gifts you have worked so hard to secure!

Read more here about what language to use in asking for money.

You can do this!

Have a plan. And work the plan.

Act now by following up with those potential major donors who have indicated that they are interested in supporting your cause.

Namely, I want you to guide them in making a gift.


What’s holding you back from asking for support from major donor prospects engaged with your organization this past year?

Nancy Rieves, Ed.D. is a fundraising coach. She provides executive and development directors with a roadmap to maximize and sustain major gift fundraising. She prepares leaders to be confident and successful in raising money. Reach her at nancy@nancyrieves.com.


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