Nonprofits: Is your CEO hesitant in asking individuals for money?

Jul 21, 2021Fundraising, Leadership, Philanthropy

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Is your CEO hesitant in asking individuals for money — large gifts — over asking others like corporations and foundations?

If that’s the case, your organization is missing out.

Certainly, you’re leaving money on the table.

I talk with donors often and so many times, they say, “I am surprised I have not been personally contacted by xyz nonprofit over the last year. I have been giving to them for years.”

Individual Donors are Puzzled They Have Not Been Asked for Money

Clearly, many individuals are not feeling a hardship right now. In other words, their businesses are booming. Moreover, their investments have performed very well this past year.

So those with the means to give are often puzzled they have not received a call asking for additional funding from the nonprofit they feel deeply passionate about.

No question, generous and well-off people are looking for ways to help their community or those in need.

That is to say, philanthropist expect and want nonprofits to be the experts in their areas and addressing problems and needs.

Absolutely, the picture is clear – we need to be asking individuals for money. Fundraising is investing in our priorities.

Charitable Giving is Up from Individuals

Listen to these latest numbers . . . 

And tell me why you are leaving money on the table by not asking individuals for money – for large gifts?

In 2020, giving by individuals was up over 2 percent.

Likewise, bequests were up by over 10 percent – that’s individuals.

Giving by foundations jumped 17 percent – that includes donor advised funds!

And there’s more . . .by contrast, corporate giving fell over 6 percent in 2020.

If you added giving by individuals and bequests, almost 80% of the giving is from individuals!

No doubt, asking individuals for gifts is where to spend the majority of your time.

Why are we not Asking individuals for Money?

Why is it we are much more willing to ask corporations and foundations for money rather than individuals?

What are we afraid of?

Being judged?

Being turned down?

Sounding foolish?

No doubt, that’s what’s in our heads.

However, you could get the same response from a corporation or foundation, right?

You are a fundraiser – you could get turned down!

Summary: Shift to Asking individuals for Money

All that to say, it’s time to shift your mindset to understand philanthropist – individuals who can make sizeable gifts — want to make a difference and want to be asked by you – the CEO, executive, development, and program directors!

Above all, whatever your role at your nonprofit — go out there, get to know, cultivate, and ask a philanthropist for their support of your cause.

You’ve got this!!

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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