Crowdfunding for any cause can be a positive, life-changing event. It can also seem challenging. Once you launch your YouCaring fundraiser, it may get a great deal of interest from your community members who are willing to donate to your cause. Yet after a few weeks or even days, you could potentially see your fundraiser stall. When this happens, don’t panic! Utilize these tips on how to ask for donations with different approaches, such as email, social media, and in person.
1. Remember the details
Keep in mind that not everyone you ask to donate knows about your fundraiser story. Whether you’re reaching out through email or asking in person, remember to explain the details of your story. If you have a longer story that contains many details, keep it concise and simple when talking to potential donors. Encourage them to visit your YouCaring site. Visit our blog to learn storytelling tips for a successful crowdfunding campaign.
2. Tailor your message
The best way to receive a positive response and donation from potential donors is to appeal to each person’s individual interests, keeping their personalities in mind. If you know that one donor would respond better to a warm, lighter-hearted email, keep your wording informal and bright. Alternatively, if another donor would respond well to a formal approach, word your message accordingly. Ask how the person is doing and mention an event in their lives to personalize your message. For more tips on writing an effective fundraising letter, visit our blog.
3. Explain what will happen if you don’t succeed
Darren Binder, the founder of City Dogs Rescue, suggests when sharing your fundraiser to relay a sense of urgency to your readers. Without this sense of urgency, your potential donors may consider waiting to donate or think someone else will contribute instead. If you explain what will happen if you don’t succeed in your crowdfunding efforts and how they can help, you will see a spike in donations.
4. Keep a positive attitude
When asking for donations, always remember to keep a positive attitude. Don’t be discouraged by the people who turn you down at first. Remember that people have widely differing priorities with their own financial needs.You don’t know when or where you’ll find people who will offer support, so keep your chin up and persevere!
How to Ask for Donations Successfully: Do’s and Don’ts
Asking for donations can be scary. You might be worried about being too demanding or making it clear why you need the money. Even seasoned fundraisers still get nervous every once in a while. But like anything, asking for donations can be made easier by making a mental checklist for yourself and practicing your approach. Here are a few do’s and don’ts we’ve collected over the years on how to ask for donations from observing some of our most successful fundraisers.
Do know what you’re asking for
While this seems evident, it’s important to have explicitly defined goals when you set out to ask for donations online. Are you raising money for medical expenses? If so, list the expenses you need help paying for. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in thinking about how you’re going to ask for donations that you forget what you’re asking people to donate to
So make sure to get your objectives high up on your fundraising page, or in your donation request letters.
Don’t be overly formal
While you can ask organizations to donate to your individual fundraiser, the majority of your potential donors will be real people, many of whom know you or the beneficiary and are familiar with your cause. So it’s important not to be overly formal when you ask for donations from potential donors because it will come off sounding false and could make them uncomfortable. It’s okay to start a conversation with pleasantries—ask them how they’ve been, catch up, and then bring up your cause.
Do know who you’re asking
Make sure you know who your audience is when you ask for donations! Here are a few questions to ask yourself when approaching a potential donor:
- Why does this person care? There is a reason you reached out to him or her for donations. Keep that reason in mind and communicate it when you approach each potential donor.
- What relationship does this person have to the beneficiary? Maybe he was childhood friends with the beneficiary, or maybe she was the beneficiary’s neighbor. It’s appropriate to bring up this relationship when you’re asking for donations to create a more personal, intimate communication, and can help increase the chances of success.
- Why would they have reservations? It’s important to keep in mind reasons why someone might not want to donate, and try to address them if possible. For example, some people may worry they cannot afford to make a large enough donation to make a difference. By addressing this concern when you approach a potential donor, and listing specific expenses that can be paid for by small donations, you can get more people to contribute.
Don’t be scared of rejection
You will not get a donation from every person you ask, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you did a bad job fundraising, or that the people you asked are terrible people. Sometimes life gets in the way, and it’s not possible to donate. But don’t let this discourage you. It’s perfectly fine to politely follow up with people who didn’t donate the first time you reached out.
Do have a positive attitude
That said, don’t go out expecting everybody you ask for donations to say no. Attitude is very important when you’re asking for anything, and if you give off vibes that say you don’t really expect help, you won’t get as many donations. Stay positive, let people know the impact their donations will have on the success of your cause and why it’s important, and try to have fun!
Don’t be vague
This applies to every aspect of your fundraiser, from your description to your events, to actually asking for donations. The fact of the matter is nowadays there are so many distractions available to people that in order to peak their interest enough to donate to your cause, you have to captivate them. And vague just doesn’t grab anyone’s attention. Be specific. Clearly state why you’re fundraising, what the current situation is and what the desired outcome will be. Give a list of expenses—some successful fundraisers have gone so far to itemize every expense from surgery costs to gas money for rides to the doctor. People appreciate being kept in the loop, especially if they’re giving money to a cause, so specifics are key.
Do think outside the box
When it comes to online fundraising in this day and age, we’re sorry to say there is no template or easy way to success. But a tried and true method is using your creativity. Tell a story—in words, pictures, drawings, or video. Give rewards to donors—send hand-drawn pictures to people who give money. Have a themed donation party—provide games and food and have people donate at the door. Possibilities are endless, and putting in a little effort to think creatively about your fundraiser will make a world of difference.
In the end, when you’re thinking about how to ask for donations online, the most important thing is to relax and have fun. People love to help other people, and if you grab their attention and make it enjoyable, you’ll be on your way to raising lots of money for your cause.
Get creative when you ask for donations for your fundraiser, and experiment with connecting with others via email, social media, in person, or better still, all three!