Stop making excuses - get out and ask

[Warning: rant in progress]
Stop it with the excuses. The timing is never perfect. There are always reasons to put off asking people to support your nonprofit.

And that is a sure way to get your nonprofit bankrupt.

If your nonprofit is doing important work, people will want to fund it. But they won’t come to that conclusion all by themselves. They need you to invite them. You need to ask.

Get the excuses out on paper

We human beings have an amazing ability to create excuses. Last week, I had the attendees of my “Ask Without Fear!” full day training in Texas write down one excuse per post-it note. Those 35 people came up with around 300 excuses of why people wouldn’t give.

Over 300 in under 10 minutes!

The timing isn’t right because

  • it’s still the summer
  • it’s the start of school
  • summer’s almost over
  • it’s going to be winter in a few months
  • they just sold the house
  • they just bought a house
  • they are in their other home
  • they probably won’t like what we’re doing anyway
  • they probably are giving to other causes
  • they have kids/grandkids/friends with kids
  • it’s rainy
  • it’s sunny
  • stocks are up
  • stocks are down
  • there’s a hurricane warning in a distant part of the planet
  • there’s a lot of sun out
  • their budget is probably spent
  • they haven’t returned the call I left them 4 minutes ago
  • they have relatives visiting
  • business hasn’t been good for them
  • business is so great they don’t have time
  • we’ve asked them too recently
  • we haven’t asked them for so long

They all stuck the post-its on a wall and then a few of us worked on clumping them into common themes. We got it down to 10 basic excuses. And as a team, we came up with responses for each one. You could see people grow in confidence right before our eyes.

Start treating your donors like adults

All of those excuses may be true, but you’re refusing to ask is effectively telling your prospect they will say no. Who do you think you are? Can you read their mind? I’ve been married 17 years and still can’t read my wife’s mind. How in the world would I dare presume to read the mind of anyone else?

Treat your prospects like adults and let them make their own decision. Sure, some of them will say no. But not all of them will. And some of them who say no to the level you request but will say yes at a different gift level.

And get out there and ask for money

Even if you work alone, this week, write out all the reasons why you think this is a bad time to ask people for money. And then cross each out and right out a reason why it is a great time to ask! You’ll be amazed with how energizing this can be. You’ll feel your confidence grow.

Use that newfound confidence, however small, to go out there and ask people for money. Get on the phone and set up appointments.

We’re moving into the time of the most significant giving of the year. Studies show 23% of all donations are made in December. Get those asks in motion now!

[Rant over]

What do you do to get over inertia?

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