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Ask Boldly, Talk Little

Our nonprofit organizations are seemingly in a ceaseless effort to convince wary investors—that is donors—to give to their worthy cause. I say ceaseless for that’s how it often feels—a ceaseless string of words.

How’s this for a unique fundraising idea. Don’t talk at your donors. Don’t tell your donors. Simply, don’t talk. Instead, ask.

Ah, you say, now I know what you’re going after, the “ask.” All of us professional fundraisers and not a few anxious volunteers know what that is! The “ask” for money. Actually, no. I stand by the unique fundraising idea that fundraising isn’t about money.

I’m asserting that the more effective fundraising approach—perhaps even a unique fundraising idea—is to not talk to your donors about your programs and all the good you do but rather to ask what is important and meaningful to them. Once you know what is really on your investors’ minds, you’re in a much better position to share with them those aspects of your organization’s work that will actually resonate.

Principle 7 of The Eight Principles™ is Renew & Refresh™. You both renew your current supporters and acquire new ones that will stay by first asking, then listening, then—and only then—talking. There’s the unique fundraising idea.

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