How to Start Asking for Donations Confidently
Ah, the moment has arrived – the moment of inviting your captive audience to move past simply listening to your presentation and move toward one, simple point of action: supporting your cause financially.
But for many people, when that moment comes the verbal gears begin to grind, your tongue becomes dry like sandpaper, and your hands get sweaty as nerves and awkward feelings set in. You wish that asking for donations and money from potential supporters were easier, but you just feel… awkward.
How in the world is it possible to stop feeling this way when asking for money to support your cause or organization?
Step 1: Find out Why you Feel Anxious about Requesting Donations
So, what can you do about the discomfort that you might feel about asking for a donation? The first thing you should probably do is identify exactly why it’s awkward for you to begin with. Here are a three questions to help you discover for yourself why you may feel anxious:
- Do you feel uncertainty of how the conversation could go when asking for a donation?
- Do you doubt yourself being fully prepared for questions about your cause that might arise when asking someone for a donation?
- Have you experienced a situation in the past when you’ve asked someone to make a contribution to your cause and it didn’t go well?
Those are just a few instances which could be contributing to anxiety, so carefully take time to do some soul searching, and don’t feel overly guilty whenever you identify the reason why you feel awkward about asking for money from donors.
Step 2: Understand Your Personality - Do you Easily Become Uncertain or Unsure?
Some personality types experience “overthinking”, while others are more easy-going. For those overthinking and conscientious individuals, the tendency to want to have as much control over their environment could be a source of uncertainty when that control isn’t happening like they desire. For them, less control equals less comfortability.
If that sounds like your personality, here’s a possible solution: role play!
Role Playing the Possibilities to Practice against Uncertainty
Grab a couple of friends and have them try different scenarios with you so that you work out how you’re going to respond, should different situations arise in “real life”. Have someone respond in a negative and belligerent way.
Maybe try having your role-playing partner play the part of an overly eager and talkative donor. Though it’s impossible to cover every scenario that might arise, having practiced just a few of them can make you feel more prepared.
Step 3: Boost Your Confidence by Becoming a Well-Studied Expert
Planning the perfect fundraising event or campaign is already difficult enough. Looking ignorant or uneducated about what you are representing is even more difficult – don’t let that happen! Instead, educate yourself. Dig in and find out what exactly you’re raising funds for and what has happened to make it necessary to raise funds for it.
If it happens to be a cause that is seen by some as controversial or divisive in some way, be sure that you go the extra mile to understand the full scope of the issue.
Be Prepared with Compelling Donation-Worthy Reasons
You should be educated in a way that allows you to speak intelligently about your cause without resorting to a stand-offish or negative posture.
One good way to do this is to think about the cause and come up with at least five strong reasons why your cause is worthy of donating money toward. Only having one or two reasons will leave you susceptible to being dismissed when faced with opposition.
A good way to get the knowledge that you need to feel comfortable with your cause is by being around those that have the knowledge and are confident in sharing it.
“On-the-job training” is one of the quickest and most thorough ways of getting the experience you need to be comfortable presenting your cause. So, find a “mentor” and learn as much as you can.
Step 4: Let Go of Past Failures, Bad Memories, & Setbacks
Our own experiences play so much into everything that we do, so it should come as no surprise that having had a bad experience when presenting your cause would have a negative impact on you wanting to do so again. However, studies show how ruminating over negative past experiences is a well-established risk factor for the onset of major depression and anxiety.
So, the question comes into play: are you going to let past setbacks weaken your confidence for asking for donations to support your cause?
To let go of past failures, bad memories of unsuccessfully asking for donations, and setbacks from not reaching your financial goals, focus on the present and remember the five strong reasons you developed why your cause is worthy of consideration donating money toward.
Let those reasons, paired with your new found confidence overcoming uncertainty and doubt, propel your donation-request presentation forward!
Step 5: Accept the Possible Outcomes, whether Positive and Negative
Every situation is different and most donor audiences are different and have their own ways and attitudes about them. If someone says “no” after you ask for a donation, that’s okay.
If your donor audience as a whole doesn’t catch your message, criticizes your efforts, or simply doesn’t believe in your cause, being an expert in your field will help you to maintain composure and confidence in the midst of those challenges.
However if you experience a positive result and may say “yes” to your donation request presentation, well then it’s time to celebrate your victory!
In those times when donors say “yes”, it helps to focus on the good and celebrate when people love to be generous!
Final Thoughts about Asking for Donations
Don’t think of asking for a donation as simply soliciting funds from someone – look at it as an opportunity to partner with that person. A donor that feels like they are part of the solution, that they are really helping to make a difference, will be much more dedicated to the cause.
Remember, it doesn’t just take money to get things done, it requires that like-minded individuals come together and put in the work.