If This Aligns With Your Values, Then Make ‘The Ask’. It’s Worth It!

By Lynn McCarthy

“The strongest predictor of who got the money was not the person’s credentials or the content of the pitch. The strongest predictors of who got the money were these traits: confidence, comfort level and passionate enthusiasm.”  ― Amy Cuddy, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Did you know 85 percent of people polled do not donate because they haven’t been asked? Imagine that?

lynn.jpgI, too, found it hard to believe. But the more I talk to fundraising professionals, the more I realize just how true it is.

Last month, we held the AngelRide 2016 Fundraising Workshop featuring Katie Kilty, Ed.D. It was a great evening filled with so many terrific ideas. I want to share highlights of what we learned.

As part of the workshop, we polled participants on why they ask some people for donations, but not others. We were curious about the motivating factors for choosing whom to ask.

We heard how important it is to connect with those who share your core values — and when this happens the giving doors open faster and wider. Think about it. When a donor shares your core values, making the ask feels less awkward and far more authentic. And chances are the answer will be “yes.”

Here is an example of what I mean. I may know a potential donor supports other children’s causes. I would open my ask by saying: “Joe, I know you have supported children in many ways in the past. I would love to share with you what I am involved with this year to help kids.” This is a great icebreaker that creates curiosity and touches on similar interests.

The workshop also focused on how to get ready to make the ask. What is your story? Why do you ride? Why do you volunteer for AngelRide? There are reasons why you have made this commitment, and it is far more compelling to think it through and deliver your messages thoughtfully.

Dr. Kilty recommends writing out your story and then practice the ask. She suggests practicing out loud. Then, practice in front of a mirror. Then, record yourself on video. Once you are prepared and confident, then ASK away!!

People are moved and motivated by stories. Storytelling is actually in our DNA and it allows others to better identify with you. When you expose your true self through storytelling, your passion will shine through.

Bottom line, get to the heart of your story. Refine it and keep on sharing it — over and over and over again!

Another fundraising tip shared during the workshop was to be specific in your ask. The most successful fundraising appeals ask the prospective donor for a specific amount—particularly those with the greatest potential to give. Ask for $250, $500, $1,000 or more.

If you’re a veteran rider or volunteer, look at what people have given in the past, then ask for a 25 percent increase. Don’t worry about asking for too much money. Your donors will feel good if they can give you a larger donation. And if they can’t give as much as you have asked, they will let you know.

With less than eight weeks to go, now is the time to build your story, practice it and deliver it as much as possible to your friends, family, peers, coworkers and anyone else you think shares your core values. After all, we are all raising money for kids who are looking for some happiness in their lives. I think we can all feel good about that!

Thank you so very much for helping us to reach our ambitious goal of raising $700,000 to benefit the Hole In the Wall Gang Camp Hospital Outreach Program (HOP). You are all angels!