Who to Ask
Before you start sending out appeal letters and emails and making phone calls to random strangers, you have to determine who you want and need to ask for donations.
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Nearly three-fourths of all nonprofit contributions are made by people who are drawn to particular causes, organizations, and missions.
There are several advantages to asking for donations from individuals:
- They’re the easiest group of donors to reach.
- They likely have personal ties to your cause and feel strongly about your mission.
- There are hundreds of millions of people who have the potential to give.
Donors also benefit from giving to nonprofits:
- There is a tax incentive attached to charitable giving.
- Donors feel good knowing that they helped others.
Whether you’re fundraising in your local community or halfway across the world, you can ask individuals for donations!
Corporations often have their own existing corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that might include:
- Matching gift programs
- Individual and team volunteer grants
- Local, state, and national grant programs
- In-kind donation programs
- Other ways to give to charitable organizations
It’s important to research a company’s CSR program before asking them for donations. They might have limitations on the types of nonprofits that they donate to or have a cap on the amount that they give to charities each year.
If you ask for donations from corporations, your nonprofit benefits by:
- Forming a strong partnership with a larger company.
- Potentially receiving those donations on an annual basis.
- Having access to more people to promote employee giving programs to.
Additionally, corporations benefit by:
- Expanding their CSR initiatives.
- Appearing more philanthropic in the eyes of consumers.
- Receiving a tax benefit.
Asking corporations for donations can be a lengthy and involved process. When done right, your nonprofit stands to benefit a great deal!
Foundations are charitable organizations that issue grants to nonprofits based on certain criteria.
These criteria could be related to:
Foundations come in all shapes and sizes and are normally split into three groups:
- Corporate Foundations
- Private Foundations
- Community Foundations
Sometimes, a foundation will award a grant to a particular nonprofit of its choosing. Other times, nonprofits submit annual grant requests to foundations in an effort to receive the grant.
Whatever the case is, foundations can be an alternative source of fundraising for nonprofit organizations.
Types of Donations
Monetary donations are often what comes to mind when people think about charitable contributions.
And for good reason!
Donations made with cash, checks, and credit cards are easy for donors to give and for nonprofits to receive.
Monetary donations are what keep the lights on for nonprofits. They’re what help organizations accomplish their missions and serve others.
Volunteers are individuals that donate their time to help your organization accomplish its mission.
They assist your nonprofit by:
- Acting as behind-the-scenes helpers during fundraising events.
- Working on the ground during projects and initiatives.
- Recruiting more donors and volunteers.
Don’t overlook the power of volunteer time as a source of alternative donations.
In-Kind or Product-Based
Often given by companies and businesses, in-kind or product-based donations are useful during fundraising events, volunteer days, and other large events that require outside resources.
In-kind or product-based donations can take many additional forms:
- Equipment for a building project.
- Decorations for a fundraising event.
- Food and drinks for a major gift dinner.
Ways to Ask For Donations
Fifty years ago, asking for donations was a different ball game. But now, with the advent of the internet, email, and social media, nonprofits can ask for donations in more ways than ever!
To give you an idea of the different ways to ask for donations, we’ve compiled a list of the various routes you could take.
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Asking for donations face-to-face adds a personal touch to your fundraising appeals.
This is a great way to approach:
- Major gift donors
- Potential planned giving donors
- Local businesses
- Larger corporations
Face-to-face meetings can be the perfect opportunity to lay out your organization’s mission and particular projects that need funding.
If you need to add a personal touch to your donation asks but don’t have the time or resources to go and visit hundreds or thousands of people, asking for contributions over the phone can be a great alternative.
Many people think of phonathons when the phrase “asking for donations over the phone” comes up. But you can use phone calls for everyday fundraising, too!
Asking for donations over the phone can be a tricky endeavor, but when done right, your nonprofit can receive a multitude of donations just by giving your donors a call.
Many of your donors are commenting, posting, and liking on Facebook.
Is your nonprofit keeping up by asking for donations on Facebook?
Asking for donations on Facebook can be a quick and inexpensive way to reach a large crowd and directly point them to your online donation form.
As long as you’re posting regular content alongside your donation appeals, you can bring in donations simply by asking for them on Facebook.
Letters can be a great way to perfectly spell out your organization’s need and demonstrate how much more money you require to reach your goal.
They’re usually used for formal fundraising appeals to companies and businesses, but you can also use letters to reach out to your more traditional donors who don’t have social media or email accounts.
For a cost-effective way to ask for donations, consider sending out emails to your supporters. Personalize your emails depending on donors’ relationships with your organization, and make your donation appeal near the beginning.
Don’t just send out donation appeals, though! Make sure that you’re sending out a variety of:
- Information about particular projects.
- Organizational updates and changes.
- Invitations to events and fundraisers.
- And more!
Asking for donations with emails can be an easy way to reach out to supporters and direct them to your donation page.
Tips for Soliciting Donations
Before the Ask
- Understand that there is a process. Fundraising in all its forms requires a plan, a cohesive team, and a unified asking strategy.
- Start with your existing connections and move outward. Your staff, volunteers, and existing donors are the ones who care the most about your mission. Start by asking them for donations and then move to their connections.
- Thoroughly research your donor base. Don’t go into an ask unprepared! Research your donors to determine the right amount to ask for and the right way to ask.
During the Ask
- Be genuine and authentic. Donors want to give to an organization they can believe in. Communicate your sincerity during the donation appeal.
- Be prepared for something other than a “Yes!” Not everyone is immediately going to want to donate to your cause. Be prepared for No, Maybe, and everything in between.
- Explain what the funds will go toward. People don’t just throw money at nothing. Tell them why their donations are needed and what they’ll help accomplish.
After the Ask
- Say thank you more than once. Gratitude is one of the most important components of fundraising. Make sure your donors are aware of your appreciation.
- Follow up. Give donors examples of what their contributions went toward. Show pictures, tell stories, and give donors a reason to donate again.
- Offer other opportunities for engagement. Don’t just let your supporters sit in your donor pool. Invite them to events. Encourage them to pursue volunteer opportunities. Engage with them outside of the fundraising appeal.
Templates for Fundraising Letters and Emails
It’s not always easy to put your mission, your need, and your passion into a one or two page document.
Luckily, we’ve got your back. We’ve created helpful templates for fundraising letters and emails of all kinds.
Check out these tabs for ideas!
The most basic fundraising letter or email that you’ll write will be for a standard donation.
Your letters should differ depending on your relationship with the recipient. First-time donors should receive a different type of communication than loyal supporters.
Many organizations write letters to individuals and businesses requesting sponsorship for a specific event or fundraiser.
These letters and emails are slightly different than a standard donation request. You’re asking for a contribution or sponsorship for a particular purpose.
These letters should explain exactly what the donation or sponsorship will help accomplish.
Volunteers help your nonprofit accomplish your tangible projects. They’re on the ground helping the people, animals, and communities that you serve.
But volunteers don’t always come to your organization; sometimes you have to seek them out!
That’s where volunteer time request letters come in.
Oftentimes, nonprofit organizations will send companies a letter as an introduction before a face-to-face meeting.
Writing a great corporate donation request letter can be the difference between receiving a sizable donation or getting tossed in the trash.
Time and Money Saving Fundraising Tools
Mobile-Responsive Donation Pages
It’s all well and good if your donation form looks great on a computer, but does it function as well on a smartphone or tablet?
Make sure that your donors aren’t pinching, scrolling, and zooming just to give to your organization. Invest in a mobile-responsive donation page design and start collecting contributions from donors who are on-the-go.
If you’re looking for a way to bring in more revenue and acquire more supporters, you should turn to social fundraising.
Also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, social fundraising takes advantage of your existing donor connections and puts your donors in control of their own fundraising efforts.
Fundraising events are great ways to interact with donors and raise more money.
But not everyone carries cash or checks all the time.
Use donation kiosks to encourage your credit-card-wielding donors to give at your next fundraising event!
Frequently Asked Questions About Fundraising
How should my organization ask for donations?
The short answer is to use a multichannel approach that combines:
- Direct mail
- In-person appeals
- Online donation forms
- Social media
- Phone calls
- Fundraising events
- And more!
Fundraising is not a one-size-fits-all effort. Find what methods your donors respond to and plan accordingly.
Does my nonprofit need an online donation page?
More and more donors are looking for quick and easy ways to give to nonprofits.
If you want to start receiving donations from these supports, you should definitely have an online donation page.
Creating an online donation page isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, and the end result can mean even more contributions for your organization.
How can I get started with fundraising?
- Start with your inner circle and move outward.
- Find people that care about your mission and feel strongly enough to donate.
From these two starting points, you can slowly move into fundraising with a broader scope.
What are the requirements for acknowledging donations?
You should always thank donors for their contributions, and you must provide a written acknowledgement for all donations over $250.
Your acknowledgements can also serve as donation receipts (read all about those here).
What’s the difference between a donation and a pledge?
A donation is an amount given by a supporter in full.
A pledge is when a supporter promises to pay a certain amount over a specified amount of time.
How Qgiv Can Help
Does your organization want to start collecting more donations online?
Our branded and easy-to-use donation pages mean more contributions and a lower donor turnover.
Our donation forms are:
- Accessible on any device
- Fully customizable
- Event registrations
- Recurring donations and more
If you’re looking for a way to bring in more revenue and acquire more supporters, consider Qgiv’s peer-to-peer platform, Hobnob!
You’ll raise donations and awareness for your cause.
We’ll make it easy and effective with:
- Responsive design
- Fully customizable pages
- Event storefront
- Email + social sharing
Qgiv’s Kiosks are a great way to bring in donations during events.
Supporters can donate in person with a Qgiv Kiosk. It works with your Qgiv account, so there’s no extra work.
Some features of a Qgiv Kiosk include:
- Donations and recurring gifts
- Event registrations
- Built-in internet
- Long-lasting battery life