Fundraising 101 | The Art of the Ask
The next blog post in our fundraising 101 series is The Art of the Ask. How do you ask someone for donations? There are three steps. The first is to look at your dream.
Let’s say your dream is to fly to the World Champion Rubik’s Cube Tournament in Hawaii. Your dream is full of passion and excitement and, when you think about it, you feel those feelings.
The second step is to tell someone, a friend or family member, about the dream. Share the feelings. This is important because you want the other person to be struck by the lightning bolts and hearts too. In a way, fundraising is all about emotion. The person you’re talking to should be holding your hands by the end of the conversation and jumping up and down with you. This is because emotion is the mother of action. In order to get someone to lift a finger, hail a taxi, offer a handkerchief, or donate a dollar, you want them to feel charged. An emotional person will do all of those things because they are in the middle of empathizing. They are listening to your story and feeling what it might be like to be you, and when they feel that, they want to help.
When sharing your dream, what do you say exactly? Say the truth. Say that you love Rubik’s cubes and that they have always fascinated you. On your 9th birthday, your Mom made you a Rubik’s cube cake. Say that your best friend is fundraising too because you both want to attend the show and meet *Insert Idol Here,* one of the best cubers in the world. Be specific with what your dream is and why you dream it. The more specific you are, the easier it is for people to empathize.
The third step is to receive money and say, “Thank you.” When you accomplish this step, congratulations are in order because you have experienced a wholesome transaction. You shared your dream, somebody heard it, and then they felt connected enough to put a feather in your wings. With enough feathers, you’ll get to Hawaii.
Learning about the steps
Now that we have the three steps, let’s talk more about them. In Step 1, you were asked to think about your dream. Ask yourself: Why do you want to accomplish this? What do you think it’ll do for you? What has accomplishing similar goals in the past done? Is this going to make you smarter? Help you pursue a passion? Let you see your friends? Help you visit new places? Make a list of what your dream means to you and you’ll have an easier time talking to people about it. The story will fly out of your mouth because it has genuinely become a preoccupation in your life.
Talking about your dream and asking for a donation should feel natural. It’s fun to fantasize out loud and conversate about your dream. It’s exciting to see the look on people’s faces or to read their Facebook comments in support. After you’ve told your story and the other person is nodding along, it will come to a natural end with, “And now I’m raising money to get to that dream.” This brings up donations in a smooth way and makes the donor feel like they’re having a regular conversation (which is how you should feel too) rather than a sales pitch.
Extra thoughts and tips
- Face to face conversations are one of the most powerful forces on earth and anything can be accomplished with them.
- You are raising money for a good cause. Good causes deserve donations.
Anyone can tell a powerful story because sincerity is powerful and anyone can be sincere.
- Older people love hearing the ambition of young people. It reminds them of the past and brings them hope about the future.
- When telling a good story, practice is the most important piece. Having your story (fundraising pitch) come out smoothly makes it more believable and persuasive.
- If someone declines to donate, don’t take it personally. Find out why they weren’t willing/able to donate – there could be something valuable in their feedback. Thank them for their time and consider it a learning experience. Every ‘no’ gets you closer to a ‘yes.’
To get the most out of your fundraising, start a page on ed.co. Your fundraising page on EdCo lasts beyond your first fundraiser. So, when you have your second one, all of the contacts and donor information from your last fundraiser will be available. It’s also easy to build a fundraising team so multiple people can fundraise together. If you’re a parent, student, or educator in the K-12 world, give us a try.