“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
~ William Butler Yates, Irish poet (1865-1939)
March is the month when we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is remembered as a humble, pious, gentle man. He feared nothing, not even death, as Catholic Online reports in its Saints & Angels section.
The quote by a beloved Irishman William Butler Yates brings to my mind the thought that nonprofit organizations must be careful not to solicit donations without proper advance preparation. But it is also true that when donors become interested in the work of a nonprofit organization and they are genuinely excited about being involved and helping, nonprofits should not be shy about asking for financial or other assistance. One must make the iron hot by striking!
I personally have never found a donor to be insulted by being asked. Most are flattered that you would think of them as able to help, even if they cannot make the commitment the nonprofit ultimately hopes for. Yet, one of the most common fears voiced by my nonprofit colleagues (staff and volunteers), is that they find it hard to “ask.” An organization that addresses this specifically is Asking Matters.
- There is no right way to ask.
- You are only the messenger.
- Your main role is to ask questions that engage the donor and to listen.
- Asking for the meeting is the biggest ask.
- Focus on the vision and impact.
I urge you to visit Brian’s website if you need coaching. In addition, there are helpful books on the topic of asking for charitable donations and nonprofit fundraising in general. A great place to find some of them is the Association of Fundraising Professionals Bookstore online.
On another note, an article I wrote when I first launched Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog discusses anonymous giving (with additional resources at the conclusion). Follow the link to read, Listening to Donors and “Serendipity” Happens. Sometimes you might not ask, but you just might receive.
Now back to the Irish! I am delighted one of my Irish ancestors served as a spy under General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. This has increased my interest in Ireland, as you might imagine.
You might also be interested to know about a terrific nonprofit support organization that serves Irish charities, Fundraising Ireland. Follow the link to a compelling video (2:39) discussing what it is striving to accomplish, and be inspired! You can also follow Fundraising Ireland on social media (my favorite being Twitter).
Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog
This blog is based on more than twenty-five years in the nonprofit sector. Included are some of my most rewarding experiences as well as a few of the challenges. You will find herein many old fashioned “tried-and-true” ideas, as well as new ones. I consider myself to be both a traditional fundraising professional, and someone who values innovation.
The encouragement of NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network has been invaluable. NTEN continues to help me navigate the ever-changing “tech” world of nonprofit management, fundraising, and communications. Look in the right hand margin of this blog under my Gravatar to find a section with links devoted to information about NTEN.
A Few Notes …
- With a new year comes a new look for my three sites on WordPress. If you have questions about how I set up my WordPress blog, see, “Blogging: How I Began, Set It Up, and More.” The three WordPress websites I maintain include: 1) the blog you are viewing now, 2) Fundraising Resources (more casual in focus), and 3) my biographical website.
- I posted a link to Anderson’s Coffee in Austin, Texas during the holidays. I have become reacquainted with a business I patronized back in my college days in Austin in the late 1970s, and I’m enjoying it. Hence, I’m keeping the link for a time as well as this “follow-up tweet.”
- Blogroll – for those who want to know the blogs I tend to favor, see my partner blog, Fundraising Resources (right hand margin under, “Blogroll”). It is a diverse mix!
- Information is provided as a public service, free of charge. Every nonprofit organization is unique; please be sure to tailor your fundraising activities accordingly. All content has been developed and is managed by me. All rights reserved.
Opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit organizations with which I have worked, or with which I am currently working. I “own” everything I write, including the occasional typographical errors, smiles. I handle all writing and posting personally. There are no other authors (but I provide links to many).
- I refer to companies whose services and products I have used with success. This blog is not underwritten by those companies.
- WordPress analytics keep track of my blog’s visitorship, now more than 200 countries in just over two years. The image at left shows the top 25. I also receive numerous e-mail questions. Sometimes, my e-responses appear to have bounced, perhaps because we are communicating across countries. Apologies! Please know I take every question seriously. You might also enjoy my partner blog, Fundraising Resources, for additional information.
- Your comments and questions are always welcome. Thank you for visiting.