Why do you need money, exactly?

So many nonprofits need charitable funds, yet few can truly articulate why. If you received a $100 gift, how would you utilize it? How about $1,000 or $100,000? It's tempting to think that your mission alone will drive giving. For some donors, that's all they'll need. But to really expand your fundraising enterprise--to inspire ever larger support and attract repeat donors--you'll need to offer details and plans as to how new infusions of money would impact your organization.

The larger the gift, the more important specificity becomes. If you have an annual budget of $2 million, for example, a new gift of $250,000 could have a tremendous effect on your work and your bottom line. Would you launch a new program? Hire more staff? Expand your facility's footprint? If someone wanted to know right now how you'd deploy $5,000, do you know exactly what you'd say?

It's always a good idea to prepare your "ask" long before you reach out to potential donors. In fact, I've found it valuable to write out the organization's top 3-5 funding priorities, and then draft specific language or mini-proposals/business plans on each one: what is the purpose of the priority, how does it support your nonprofit's mission, how much money is needed, how will the money be spent, and what kind of impact will each priority have on the people/places you serve?

Invest the time to articulate these needs and you'll soon inspire individuals, foundations and companies to invest in you.

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