The Psychology of Giving, Part 2

Fundraising is quite literally a give-and-take relationship requiring a lot of attention along the way. The initial ask is just part of this relationship. In the second part of our series, we will delve deeper into the tried and true fundamentals of asking other people for money.

Create a simple narrative.
Yes, most social problems are very complex. The details play out in classrooms and academic journals. If you’re leaving the classroom to take on the world, you may find that they speak a different language. Learning to package your issue into simple, bite-sized morsels of cause and effect is absolutely essential. The voting public, and the media that inform them, need clear messages.

Be specific (ask for a specific amount).
When you host a fundraiser, everyone knows you’re asking for money. So don’t be shy. The biggest mistake made by many new fundraisers is ambiguity. Don’t ask for an undefined amount of money. Ask for a specific amount from your donors. Tell them exactly what you plan to do with it. If you get a lesser amount, so be it, but always ask for a specific, reasonable amount. The worst they can do is say no.

Always say “thank you.”
Donors should always feel appreciated. Very appreciated. Think about how you want your donors to talk about your organization to their friends. When someone makes a donation to your campaign or cause in any amount, give them your sincere gratitude. Send them a note. Invite them to another event. A satisfied contributor is more likely to be a repeat contributor.

There is definitely a sweet science when it comes to asking for money. But as in all things, practice makes all the difference. Being very organized is a virtue in the fundraising world. Knowing the names, faces and donation totals of your donors is imperative. Every contribution teaches you more about your contributors as a whole.

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