Your donors are ready to give, so ask!

Aug 4, 2021Donors, Fundraising, Leadership, Nonprofits, Philanthropy

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Your donors are ready to give, so ask! If you’re not asking donors for their help, they will find another organization that needs them. Find the time to fundraise.

There’s no reason to hesitate in seeking large funding for your nonprofit right now.

In fact, you should be asking for major gifts.

Ready to Give: My Donor was Honored to be Asked

Let me share this . . . My donor was ready to give!

While at the foundation I launched and ran for 10 years, I remember agonizing when to ask this donor for a gift. She had lost a loved one, and I knew she needed space and time to grieve.

After a year, I was with her on an all-day outing. I shared with her I wanted to talk about a giving opportunity and asked if she was interested in a conversation.

Her response – “Absolutely!”  

It was obvious she wanted to know more. She found me later and asked if this was a good time for a conversation.

Did you hear that – she sought me out!

No doubt, that’s what you want — an interested and eager donor.

With her giving in the range of $5,000 each year, I shared an idea about redirecting her funds to endow a new program. It was a program aligned beautifully with her interests and passions.

As you can imagine, she was beaming. In fact, excitement was written all over her face. I can still remember how her eyes and smile widened as she spoke. At the same time, she was humbled.

Mainly, she was incredibly honored we would consider her in this way.

Our conversation continued about how much would be required to fully endow the program. As a result, we talked about options and settled on a plan.

The Best Time to Ask is now!

I think of this story occasionally. Certainly, it’s hard to know when to ask a donor for a gift.

I know I fretted unnecessarily at times while on the frontlines of fundraising.

But asking for a gift is something not to be flippant about.

You want to listen to your donors, know their circumstances, understand their passions and desires, and ask at the appropriate time with the appropriate amount.

No question, that’s a lot to think about!

Ready to Give: Listen and Ask

Think about the perfect gift for your friends and family. Meanwhile, imagine you’re trying to find a perfect present for someone who would never tell you what they want…or even know that they wanted it! 

That said, asking is not something you do on impulse or without thinking about all of the details. You want to spend quality time getting to know your donors. Above all, try figuring out their passions before making the ask. This way you can be prepared, and everything goes smoothly. 

Summary: If You’re Not Asking, You’re Losing Out

Donors love to be asked for money and are looking for ways to make a difference. 

Are you hesitant about asking individuals for large gifts?

Without question, donors are watching and often waiting for you to ask them for their support.

Above all, do your homework and know as much as possible about a donor’s circumstance before asking for a gift.

To sum up, move forward in asking for major gifts – Donors are ready to give.

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 [email protected].


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