When asking a person for a contribution you need to tell them: who you are, what you’re trying to accomplish, when you’re trying to do this, where you will be providing this service and to whom you are serving and lastly why you are doing this. Also, realize that people give quicker if there is a sense of urgency to your cause versus when a person asks with no specific deadline.
Most people, businesses and foundations want it short and simple! If possible you need to talk to a potential donor face to face. The reason, it is very easy to say no to a person on the phone or even after reading a letter. However, it is much more difficult to say no in person. When you are face to face your body language and tone of your voice all convey an important message.
Showing sincerity is hard to fake and most people will make their own judgment of you within seven seconds making a determination if they can trust you or not. Meeting someone in person also shows indirectly your dedication that you think the cause you are seeking support for is worthy of your time and effort and that is why you are promoting it.
After every personal visit always, and I mean always, write a hand written note of appreciation regardless of the outcome of the meeting. Show that you care that the potential donor took time out of their busy schedule to meet you.
When putting together what you want to say and what written material you want to leave behind with a prospective donor; you need to make sure that the presentation you make does not totally rely on a pure emotional appeal but a message that is logical giving a legitimate reason why the individual or organization should give. Granted, emotional appeals can and often do work, however, they are highly dependent on the individual connecting deeper with the cause than appealing to one’s logic, telling someone in their mind that making a contribution is the right thing to do.
Furthermore, people want to know that there will be accountability for how a contribution is used. Always be honest and up front with any limitations, and do not over promise what a donor’s gift will accomplish.
Lastly, you need to realize that when a business makes a contribution i.e. an in kind one of services or a donation of a product or even the more preferred straight cash contribution each one takes away from the bottom line from that business. As one that receives a contribution the most important thing you can do is to graciously accept all of these contributions equally and show the proper amount of gratitude. Giving a receipt is not a thank you and saying thank you one time is not enough.
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.