I’ve spent 28 years advising organizations on how to conduct capital campaigns, and I’ve come to an important conclusion!
While there are many things in a capital campaign that help raise more money, asking – person-to-person, face-to-face – is the most important of them.
Yes, it’s important to have a goal. Yes, it’s important to have a timetable. And yes, it’s important to be raising money for a good cause. But with all of those in place, unless you are willing to muster the courage to get out and ask, your results will be disappointing.
Not only are people more likely to give when you ask them in person, but they will also give more than they would if you just sent a letter. The personal conversation provides an opportunity to explore shared values and to determine the gift that will be right for the donor — not just the gift that’s easy.
Take a look at this video of Paul Balser who says that if he’s not going to give, the solicitor won’t get in the door. But once he accepts the meeting, the size of the gift may well be determined by the conversation.
Think about how you would respond if a friend or acquaintance took the time to meet with you to tell you about an organization they care about? You would probably be pleased to learn about the organization, particularly if it did work that interested you. And how would you respond if your friend then asked you to make a gift? Wouldn’t you be hard pressed to say “no”? And even if you did say “no” because it wasn’t the right project or wasn’t the right time for you, would you hold it against your friend for asking?
Chance are good that you would give if you could. But if you couldn’t you’d probably be happy to have learned about the organization and you might well find another way in which to help.
Most of us are happy to learn new things about topics that interest us. We appreciate it when someone takes the time to tell us what’s going on. And most of us don’t like to say “no.”
So learn an important lesson from capital campaigns. If you want to raise more money for your organization, find the courage to get out and talk about the organization with your friends and acquaintances and if the organization interests them, don’t hesitate to ask. Asking face-to-face is not only the most effective way to raise money, it also opens doors you may never before have considered.
See more from Andrea – read some of her ideas on how to motivate your fundraisers.