Inspired by the Sh*t ____ Say YouTube phenomenon, I'm launching Stu*f People $ay, a series that will address the most common questions and comments about fundraising from non-fundraisers. Without further ado, here's the first installment:
"I could never ask people for money."
I hear you! The thought of approaching individuals and asking them to fork over cash is downright cringeworthy.
But when folks make this comment, I believe what they may actually mean is:
"I could never ask strangers for gobs of money."
Have you ever raised money through a walkathon? Helped with a raffle at your child's school? Perhaps you've solicited friends, family, and coworkers to support these endeavors. If so, you've asked people for money! It's just that you're comfortable enough with them to ask and they're predisposed to helping you out.
Professional fundraising isn't terribly different. When you finally ask a prospective major donor to make a gift, that moment shouldn't be a surprise to them. By that point, they've become very interested in the work you do and you've gained a better understanding of their charitable interests and goals during this so-called cultivation period. They know "the ask" is coming and they're ready and willing to consider it. You've built a trusting and open rapport with them. Just like your walkathon/Aunt Edna, you're now comfortable with them and they believe in your nonprofit's mission such that they're predisposed to helping it out.
That doesn't seem so cringeworthy, does it?