“You have to be transparent with your fundraising. Think if the decision you’re making would be on the front page of the local paper tomorrow and your mama saw it. Would you want your mama to see it?” – Sandy Rees, Founder of Get Fully Funded.
Fundraising can be a messy business. Sandy gave us two rules for when you’re asking donors for money:
First, Sandy told us to never be afraid of asking. Just go for it. It doesn’t matter if they’re already volunteering for you—that just means they’re invested! Remember: donors make your nonprofit work. The worst thing they can say is no. And never ever forget, you are not wrenching a check out of anyone’s hands. Your job is to ask, and it’s their job to decide.
Next, Sandy told us to stick to our morals. Your reputation is everything. If you’re known for bad business, you’re going to have one heck of a time raising money. Fundraising is hard, there’s no doubt about it. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean that you can find easy and honest ways that work for you and your organization. The thing about fundraising is that you’re dealing with people’s money, and where there’s money, there’s investment. Be forthcoming and transparent to ensure donors that their investments are worthwhile.
This fall, Sandy encourages you to follow her step-by-step process and take fundraising seriously. Here are four tips to spice up your fall fundraising letter:
- Start with a “touch the pearls” moment. Giving is an emotional act. When people feel moved by a cause, they’re more likely to make a donation.
- Talk about the need, impact and gap. The best way to do that is to talk about the need your nonprofit addresses, the impact you’re having and the gap that remains.
- Ask for an amount the donor can envision. Instead of asking for arbitrary amounts (“Your gift of $25, $35, $50 or more will help us….”), try using numbers that mean something. If I’m thinking about giving to your nonprofit, and I know my $100 will pull a senior dog from the shelter, I can envision it and I feel good knowing how my money will be used.
- Link to your website where they can get more info. Keep your letter short and concise. If you have a longer story to tell or more back-up info, put it on a special page on your website, and include that in your letter, too.
The fundraising season is here. So get to it! The responsibility is yours.