The golden rule in the development end of the business is to ask prospective donors often if you expect to receive a contribution. This is a rule that many nonprofits don’t want to talk about or follow.
For this reason nonprofits often fail to get the larger gifts they deserve. Too often, people cringe at the thought of asking someone for something, especially if that something happens to be money. The approach many nonprofits take is almost with a “hat in hand” kind of mentality
However, asking for a contribution for your cause does not and should not make you feel like you have to apologize. Asking for a contribution has as much to do with understanding other people as about understanding yourself and what motivates you.
When asking for a contribution you must approach this as an individual filled with passion for his or her cause, not as an administrator or development officer who is “just doing a job.” I’m not trying to cause hard feelings among professional fundraisers mind you, because without you, most universities and colleges as well as some select nonprofits would be in serious financial trouble.
However, I want to speak to all nonprofit professionals and ask you to search your souls to see if you have what it takes to be transparent and share with someone how you truly feel about the cause you lead. Is the “passion” and story of the cause you support one that comes out of a canned plastic speech that is given to a local civic group, or is it one that motivates you everyday when you wake up to realize that you have the ability to change a life for the better? While one cannot overstate the value of the “right person” asking for a contribution, it is just as important to know what his or her motivations are in asking. Nothing can replace the value of building relationships over time, perseverance, being sincere and having a passion for your cause.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.