The Power of NO: Sometimes the Best Part of Fundraising
Asking for funding support can be either the easiest or the hardest task you can make: and most people do find it difficult to ask for money. Why is that?
- Is it fear of rejection?
- Is it because you are not sure that someone will not be offended and not want to talk to you again?
- Are you not committed or completely sure of the mission on whose behalf you are asking?
Taking a Chance
The first couple of times you really have to present a request for donations can scar you for life, if it is a bad experience. Or you may be tortured by a lifetime of door -to -door gift wrapping and elementary school fundraisers. Did you have any early experience in looking for funding and making a direct ask? I have found that for many, steeling yourself and actually forming the words is much less daunting with a little preparation and a big, deep breath.
Ok, First Step
The deep breath: commit to be a little uncomfortable, a little scared and more than a little proud of yourself. You are doing a good thing. Are you ready:
- Your mission and reasons for being are clear, and succinct.
- There is emotion, passion and heart is what you are doing.
- There is good common sense, business and social, for what you are doing.
- What you want.
Make that request, respectfully, of your potential donor.
They said no: no budget, already supporting another cause( s) , not really aware of your mission and can’t see the immediate necessity to donate. Do you feel deflated, discouraged? NO!
You prepared yourself, you made your case and ‘screwed your courage to the sticking place’ and actually asked for cash support for your organization. Excellent effort, well done.
Thank your potential donor for allowing you to make your case and listen. What questions might they have about what you are doing? If there is no interest, a second thank you for time and then you are done. But think about this conversation, what can it teach you about making the next ask? What reasons NO can you address? May you contact them again next year to show what you have done and are doing?
Although it may seem counter-intutitive, you will find that each ”no’ does a few things for you:
- it makes you stronger
- it gets you closer to your next yes
- it proves that ‘no’ will not kill you, hurt you or anything else; more than anything, you asked!
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