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Nonprofits Need to Ask NOW – Louis Fawcett

Nonprofits Need to Ask NOW Louis Fawcett Charity NANOE

Nonprofits Need to Ask NOW! The fastest way to get the most money for your mission is through ASKING individuals and families. You are not asking for yourselves, you are asking on behalf of the children and families you serve. Never before has your mission been more important!

The biggest mistake nonprofits make during crises is taking a passive stance as it relates to major donors. Too many executives are afraid to ask or afraid of being “tone deaf.” But this outlook is a fallacy. The only way to get the money you need is to ASK people with money to contribute NOW to impact your community.  Will some say no?  Definitely.  But will three out of ten say yes? Absolutely.

For what are you waiting?

Are you hoping for government CARES Act stimulus money? How long will you have to wait and how much is that going to cover? Maybe two months of payroll? Is this really going to change things substantially long term for your nonprofit?

Are you hoping for that grant application to be funded?  If you completed an online application your chances are less than 1% that a cold application will result in money for your organization. Don’t waste time filling out grant applications until you have formed a relationship with the decision makers.

Are you hoping for a surprise major gift from a supporter? Unless you have asked clearly and concisely, you are not getting a big surprise gift.

Now, more than ever, the services you provide are essential for your community! Without funding for your mission, people suffer.This means that NOW is the time to ASK.

Nonprofits Need to Ask NOW!

Here are eight easy steps to take to bring in major gifts during times of crisis:

  1. Determine your top 100 current or perspective supporters to whom you can send a major gift ask.  Use giving history, wealth research and what you know about them to classify them in your top 100.  Put these top 100 major donors into a spreadsheet with name, address, email and phone numbers.
  2. Assign a target ask amount to each prospect between $2,500 and $25,000.  Make a new column on the spreadsheet with this target ask amount.
  3. Stack rank the prospects according to the target asks from greatest to least (i.e. $25,000 asks sorted in descending order down to the $2,500 asks).
  4. Write a two to three page COVID-19 response letter (using the terms “commitment” or “gift” or “support” not “donation”) detailing what is happening at your organization, how you are working through COVID-19, how important your organization is to the community, and how their money will be spent immediately to help people in the next six months.
  5. Design a commitment form that includes gift amount and space for name, address, phone, email address and credit card information.  Don’t forget to include your web address for online giving.
  6. Customize each letter with name, address and customized ask amount for each donor.  Use blue, green or purple ink pen to write personal notes letting supporters know you are thinking about them.
  7. Hand address each piece and use a large envelope (manila or white) to mail the letters with a stamped return envelope for their gifts.
  8. Follow up with phone calls to each donor to check in with them, answer questions and confirm their commitments.

Don’t use email as a crutch during this time!  Customized letters, handwritten notes, phone calls and virtual meetings are the ways to stay in touch with you donors and raise more money NOW.

Here is what we know: no one is going to get upset with you for asking for vital funding for your organization. YOUR MISSION IS CRITICAL FOR YOUR COMMUNITY!  Believe this first and then take the bold move to ASK NOW.  Don’t make the mistake of being passive and waiting for help to come. The future of your organization will be determined by the steps you take now to build capacity.

Thank you for your work on the front lines to help people in need.  Be strong, carry on, keep the faith. NANOE stands with you!

Nonprofits Need to Ask NOW was first posted at NANOE NEWS

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Nonprofits Need to Ask NOW was written by Louis Fawcett, President, National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE)

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