The Awkward Fundraising Phone Call

I got the most awkward phone call yesterday from a soon-to-be missionary. My phone never rings from this person but because of the power of social media I am tangentially aware of his pending plans and also of his need to be fundraising. Compounding the rough start of the call is that he got me confused with another Ryan he has in his phone’s contact list. Before he could turn the corner in the conversation I was wishing I hadn’t picked up. (Don’t worry, him and I will still be friends… And I might even give him a chance to pitch me again.)

So you have a need to fundraise, I get it! However, here are some Basic Fundraising 101′s that you should definitely keep in mind when you are beating the money path for your new organization.

  • Don’t ask for money if you haven’t talked to the person in well over a year.
  • Don’t ask for money on the very first time you introduce your new non-profit work.
  • Don’t treat close or semi-close relationships with any less attention to effort, information and details about your work than you would other prospective donors.
  • Do be passionate about your work. I need to feel that you are in this thing for the long haul, not just until something better comes along.
  • Be very well informed about all of the details of your organization too.
  • Follow up on every piece of additional information that a prospective donor might want… do it right away!
  • Have a sense of urgency about you. If you aren’t in a hurry to accomplish your mission, certainly donors won’t be either.
  • Be personable, try the phone and in-person meetings. Twitter and Facebook are generally only good for one-time funding requests under $100.
  • Do not, do not, do not be intimated.
  • And do not be arrogant either.
  • And please don’t beg or use guilt.
  • Be direct & clear
  • Cast a very compelling vision!
  • Be specific with your goal and with your outcomes.

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