On the 15th of April, I attended the Raise and Young Arts Fundraisers webinar- ‘How to Make an Ask’. The webinar was hosted by, Deborah Larwood of Open North, Dan Scales (He/Him) of De La Warr Pavilion, Ama Ofori of Darko, Cara Hepburn of Royal Museums Greenwich, and Julia Price. All of the hosts were experienced fundraisers from a variety of organisations thus, they were able to give us their diverse and unique experiences from their roles as fundraisers.
The webinar explored the skills and difficulties we are presented with when asking potential donors for money and provided us with incredible insight and tips. Here are my top 5 tips from the session that will hopefully aid and inspire you, whether you currently work in fundraising or want to in the future:
1. ‘Make an ask in a way that feels real and authentic to yourself.’
An important part of fundraising is presenting your true self. By ensuring you stay true to yourself and your organisation, you will be able to let your donor understand your aims and whether or not they want to contribute and support you.
2. ‘Be aware of what you’re asking from them and what you have done in terms of what the appeal (donor) has given in the past.’
Researching your donor and their history with fundraising lets you know whether or not it worth your time asking them to contribute to your cause. If you see that your potential donor has donated to similar organisations/ causes in the past, then you know yours may successful and of interest to them.
3. ‘Once you have got to know them and made an ask maintain and build that relationship.’
Ensuring that you keep in touch and up to date with your donor is incredibly useful for building a relationship. This may lead them to become a permanent or returning donor to any future causes your organisation may become involved with.
4. ‘Don’t let a no prevent you from making another ask.’
Don’t allow yourself to be deterred, put off, and defeated when you receive a no. If one donor says no this does not necessarily mean that others won’t be interested. Furthermore, a no from one particular donor does not mean that same donor won’t be interested in another cause, or the one they just turned down, at a later date!
5. ‘It helps if you believe in what you’re asking for.’
Don’t lose faith or sight in your cause! Put forward your passion and exhibit it in a way that interests your donor. Passion is contagious, use that to your advantage. As long as you believe in your cause others will too.