Asking for a donation can be a challenging task. We often make it harder on ourselves by creating fears in our mind that limit us and our success. If you want to be a successful leader and fundraiser, you have to overcome fear of asking for a donation and help others overcome their fear.
Have you ever had a task but you really didn’t want to do it? It’s easy to procrastinate. Sometimes I avoid doing what I don’t want to do, what I feel uncomfortable doing, or what makes me nervous. I recently reorganized two kitchen junk drawers to avoid writing a big report. I was struggling to focus and knew I was procrastinating. It was fear that was holding me back, not lack of knowledge.
Fear of asking for a donation can make board members or staff members resistant to fundraising. Board members don’t want to feel rejected. They may be fearful, so they avoid asking. They take on many other tasks but avoid having those face to face asking conversations with donors. How can we help them overcome fear of asking for a donation?
Have you ever experienced any of these fears?
- asking for a gift
- making someone angry
- not knowing what to say
- asking for the wrong amount
- feeling unprepared
You can conquer your fears. The first step is to acknowledge them. The second step is to begin overcoming them. Let’s look first at your past successes.
Look at your past success
Have there been other situations where you’ve succeeded in overcoming your fears? Other times in your life when you felt fearful yet overcame it and experienced success? Maybe you wanted to ask for a raise, or look for a new job. Did you feel fearful about taking on a big project? We’ve all been there. How did you successfully conquer your fears? What techniques worked for you? You can apply that same knowledge and technique to a new situation.
Conquer your fear of asking
The key to conquering your fear of asking for a donation is to 1) prepare for the conversation, 2) plan what you want to ask the donor and how you will address their questions, and 3) practice. The more you perform a behavior like asking for a donation from a donor or a raise from your boss, the better you’ll get. It’s normal to have fears. You CAN conquer them. The first step is to admit you have them rather than ignore them.
It’s our role as fundraising leaders to help our staff and volunteers, including board members, overcome their fears. Guiding them to prepare, plan, and practice is so important if we want to be successful. As fundraising leaders, we can coach our board through exercises and discussions about giving and philanthropy. We can help board members articulate their passions and giving priorities, and understand how to connect donors with their passions and priorities. Reach out to me if you’d like to talk about how we can help your board overcome their fear of asking for a donation.