I was in a service club meeting, hearing an extremely compelling story of a nonprofit outreach. The people were passionate, the results were impressive.
And then they ruined it. They said something like:
“We’ll be seeking sponsorships because, well, we’re a nonprofit so we have no money.”
For the record, that type of fundraising appeal sucks.
Sadly, it’s the third time I’ve heard it in as many months. Nonprofits crying poverty. Often it’s said as a throw away phrase.
You’d never buy a product from a store because the store owner said, “We need the money.” You’d feel a bit creeped out and possibly manipulated. And you’d figure he didn’t know how to handle his money.
So stop doing that to the rest of us with your nonprofit’s pitch.
I know fundraising can be uncomfortable. But if you have a compelling story, just ask! Learn to read the crowd. If they’re with you, ask for the gift.
And if it’s not a time to ask yet say, “We’ll be seeking sponsorships because we know businesses will love to have their brand associated with such amazing outcomes.”
Not, “because we have no money.”
AMEN! Preach it brother!!
Thanks Eric! I certainly am not expecting people to be as enthusiastic about asking as I am. But I felt my positive emotions for this cause plummet when I heard that.
And the other two times, I heard it from large nonprofits so it just sounded like a cop out.
As a vendor to nonprofits I hear that all the time. Wait, you brought in $13 million with special events last year, but you don’t have any money to promote this season’s __-athon?
Jon, I hear you. I was approaching this as someone interested in donating. But I hear it a lot from your side too. Yuck.
Part of the reason for such a strongly worded post was that it takes so much time and preparation to do a good presentation. And this group had taken all the time to do it right.
They’d already explained why the sponsorships were needed. It was so frustrating to seem the ruin it all with that “we have no money.”
Exactly! The comment screams “we don’t know how to handle our money” and further, how do you respond to that remark? “I’m sorry?” It leaves the presentation dead in the water.