The reason most people will tell you they hate fundraising is because of that big, scary thing called "Asking." Most fundraising classes teach you to mentally prepare yourself, prepare your speech, practice it a few times, what to do if the donor says no, how to prepare yourself for the dreaded rejection, how to counter-offer so that you will eventually get a yes." The emphasis is entirely on you as the Asker.
At Benevon we approach asking from a different point of view—that of the donor. Specifically, our focus is on the donor's readiness to be asked. After all, if you are interested in building a lifelong relationship with a donor, why would you rush the process or risk offending a donor by asking too soon? Using this approach, you would never ask a donor for a contribution unless you were certain that they were ready to give.
We call that "donor readiness." By this point in the cycle, the donors would have cultivated themselves through the process so much that they are beginning to wonder why no one has asked them yet to give money to the organization. In that situation, asking becomes nothing more than "nudging the inevitable."
Think about someone involved with your organization right now who you know is ready to give. How do you know that? What signals or cues are they giving you?
Here are our top ten signs of donor readiness:
1. They ask a lot of questions.
2. They return your phone calls.
3. They bring their friends to your tours of your organization, so they can learn more about your mission.
4. They give you advice.
5. They come to other events and occasions in the life of the organization.
6. They start talking about themselves and your organization as "we."
7. They ask more questions about your fundraising.
8. They ask how else they can help.
9. They “hang around.”
10. They offer to give you money.
In other words, donors let you know in many ways that they are ready to give. They give off cues—cues which you naturally will recognize, if you trust your intuition.
Reprinted with permission of Benevon. © 2010 Benevon. For more information and free resources about sustainable funding, visit Benevon’s website at www.benevon.com.