Don?t think of it as an ask, think of it as an opportunity.
Let?s start with the obvious ? asking people for money is uncomfortable. It?s natural to feel awkward asking your closest friends and family for donations. But, campaign fundraising is a critical part of fueling any cause or movement. Don?t think of it as soliciting; think of it as giving others a great opportunity to invest in a worthy cause. Believe in yourself and your mission ? if it?s truly worth fighting for, then your friends and family will find value in seeing you succeed.
Donors give for a variety of reasons, but the number one reason anyone gives is because they were asked. Personal appeals are important as they raise the level of perceived importance and credibility. So as you begin the process of raising money from friends and family ? in person and over the phone ? here are 9 tips on making the ask to help fund your movement:
1) Start by breaking the ice. It will help you relax and make a connection, before making an ask. If you don?t already know them, identify something you have in common. Developing rapport and establishing trust is critical when making and maintaining donor relationships. Find common ground and discuss your shared goals. How is a ?win? for you a ?win? for them?
2) Establish credibility with facts and context. Be precise and confident, but not cocky. Donors are often hesitant to give when they feel a campaign?s objectives are unrealistic and unachievable.
3) Convey urgency: ?Our goal is to show strength early on by having the most money raised out of any candidate by the first fundraising deadline next week.?
4) Ask for a specific amount. If they?ve ever given to a federal or state candidate, you?ll probably be able to find them on the FEC or state elections website.
Always ask for more than you think they?ll give. The worst that can happen is that they?ll give less, or not at all, and feel flattered. But if you don?t, you?re leaving money on the table.
5) Identify a project that their contribution will go towards. Will it help with providing food and transportation for Get Out The Vote? Or get you new ad on the air? Donors are investors who want to know how their resources will be put to use.
6) After you?ve made the ask, be sure to allow silence until the donor responds.
7) If you get a NO, don?t sweat it. Let that person know that there are other ways they can contribute, through volunteering, attending events and helping you identify other supporters.
8) If you get a YES, Congratulations! Remember to thank them. It?s important to thank them right then and there but also to follow up with a thank you note. If possible, ask that individual if they would be willing to identify other supporters or even host a fundraiser.
9) Remember that once someone has invested in you, your success is their success. Put them to work in other ways and keep them updated on all of your amazing progress!
Now go make it rain.