Can a donor give advice that’s really worth $10,000?
When Brent Hafele was first starting out as a fundraiser, he made a very common mistake when it came time to make an ask. Luckily, the donor was gracious enough to give Brent some very helpful advice.
In this video, Brent from NewDay Nonprofit Solutions tells the tale and what he learned many years ago, and why it has made a huge impact on his fundraising efforts over the years.
If you have any stories or advice from your early days of fundraising, please share them in a comment box under the video. Your nonprofit friends will appreciate it.
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Christopher Davenport says
If you have any stories or advice from your early days of fundraising, please share them in a comment box. Your nonprofit friends will appreciate it. 🙂
Tom Velie says
What a great reminder of a core ingredient. After many years of development work I still find it quite easy to slip back into the “general ask” (without an amount) rut.
Thanks. Worth $10,000!
Tom Ahern says
Brent: I have to tell you what a gift it is for me to hear a front-line fundraiser like you talking about your experiences. As a writer of fundraising materials, I am NOT on the front line (direct mail is maybe the exception). Hearing about donors and their thoughts and responses and actions is hugely helpful to getting the messages right. Thank you for sharing!
Leo Donaghy says
What a great reminder – simple but effective fundraising technique.
Judith krimski says
The simplicity of the advice is what struck the chord with me. I think as fundraisers there is always the danger of talking too much around the subject rather than a simple direct approach. After all – don’t most donors know what you are there for….
Quinn Schipper says
Practical, punctual. Good reminder. Thanks, Brent … and Chris, for the gift of Movie Mondays.
Bob Moore says
This is a great lesson and reminds me of a similar one learned by a friend of mine years ago. His small agency had a shortfall in revenue and needed $10,000. He met with a strong supporter and asked to borrow $10k. The donor agreed, and my friend sent him a thousand dollars every month. For the last payment, he asked the supporter to meet him for lunch; he wanted to thank him in person. They did and he did, and then the supporter, an older guy, said, “So what did you learn from this?” My friend stammered out a reply about the importance of paying your debts on time and watching your expenses, and the older guy leaned in and said to him, “Son, you haven’t learned a damn thing. If you had asked me for the money, I would have given it to you.”
Brent, I just took a job as DD for a homeless shelter for single women. I love what I am doing, however I felt compelled to make the move to this new job. This video on making the ask 101 was of course insightful, but also makes me feel good about my move – a little bit of providence, perhaps!
Kathy Widenhouse says
Awesome advice that is real-world, practical, and inspiring. Thank you!
Bonnie Gallagher says
I am just starting out and very nervous about asking for any amount of money for my non-profit org for the mentally challenged adults in my district.
I will continue to watch this Movie Mondays, I found it very helpful. Know one can assume what you are thinking you have to tell them.
Thank you Chris and Brent .
Having been schooled in the same “be direct – ask for what is needed” approach, I had in the past always asked for a specific amount from a donor that we had done ample research on and felt certain we knew what discretionary dollars were appropriate for a donation. On one such ask I told the prospective and very interested potential donor for the amount we needed. It was a mini-campaign to purchase a specific item. I asked for $20,000, or 46% of the total needed and offered a naming opportunity at that level.
The prospect went to my boss, told of being deeply offended by my ask, and a few months later I was out of a job.
I now tell an interested prospective donor what the total amount is needed for the project/campaign, inform them of any naming opportunities and at what levels and then ask if they can make a meaningful gift to help get us to our goal.
Haven’t offended anyone else – or lost my job.
Jill that was a helpful comment because I would like to ask for the whole amount of course! Yours is a very clean way of making an empowering ask.
Thanks fo the wisdom.
Jill – I think it’s unfortunate that your experience with an ignorant and non supportive boss has dissuaded you from employing a fundamentally critical piece of fundraising – i.e. always ask for a specific gift amount. Could have been any number of reasons for “offending” the prospect but you’ll never know. Maybe she/he thought her/himself important enough that the boss should have made the ask? Or she/he was embarrassed to have to say “I can’t give that much.” There’s always the four fundamental questions to ask courtesy of Jerold Panas
Elizabeth Fitzgerald says
Thanks, Chris and Brent, thanks for sharing this key to a successful donation request!