Nonprofit Insurance Program

How To Ask For Dontions

By Kathi Fuhrman
December 08, 2014

Asking for donations can be intimidating at first. But you shouldn’t have to fear – the worst that can happen is a “no” and the best that could happen could leave you humbled, honoured and brought to tears.

It’s important to remember you’re not trying to sell a product – you’re helping people unlock their inner desires to help and creating opportunities for individuals to make a difference.


Your best bet for finding a potential donor most likely lies among the people, businesses and agencies you already know. Think about some of the relationships you or your nonprofit organization have already established and whether you may be able to approach them for donations. It helps if you already have a connection. Be sure to pick an appropriate time to speak to them.


This applies to both the donor and the donation. You need to research your potential donor’s background to try understand what they feel passionate about. Do they have a history of donating?What those causes have they contributed to?

Equally important is to ensure you are absolutely clear about your cause. Donors are more likely to respond if they know exactly where the money is going so they understand what they are supporting. A clear objective will help them connect with the cause and feel more positive towards a donation.


It may sound silly, but practice what you’re going to say – in front of the mirror, out aloud or even to a friend. You want to be engaging and positive as people will respond to this much more than someone who is nervous, unsure and who races through their pitch and a rate of knots.


Remember you are having a conversation with a person. You may be eager to explain everything that your organization does and where the money will go, but you don’t need to launch straight into it. Use silence to listen to the other person, and to allow your potential donor to engage you back in conversation and offer information about what they may already know about your cause.


Finally, don’t forget your manners! Be sure to express your gratitude regardless of the answer – thank them for listening, act understanding if they decline your request, and of course thank them for any donation they pledge, regardless of how big or small it may be.

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