Asking Too Much

potential investorsWhenever I’m around well-motivated people I can feel their energy. I sense their passion, the driving vision that empowers them.

It’s always exhilarating to be around folks like this.


Because it reminds me of what’s truly important in the world. Doing what we believe in because it’s worth the effort. It’s worth the cost.

That’s why I just shake my head when I see how this burning passion is so often ditched among nonprofits.

When we go out to fund raise for our cause we often undercut our efforts by sending a subliminal message that its not worth very much.

How? By low-balling prospective investors.

We do this in a number of ways. The obvious is by asking and expecting too little. “Just give a dollar for . . .—you fill in the blank.”

Another more, subtle yet corrosive thing we in the nonprofit world often do is to actually equate asking for an investment in the lives of others to a monetary transaction. We even have a word for it—“transactional fundraising.”

You know of what I am speaking. Auctions, galas, bake sales—any approach which relies on a quid pro quo.

Potential investors will gladly cooperate and give you a handout—instead of an investment. But potential investors save their serious resources for an organization that believes in the passion enough to engage them where it counts—with their visions and values, not their money.

Funny thing about that. When you don’t focus on the money it seems to arrive with a lot less effort, and in greater quantities.

Principle 7 of The Eight Principles™ is Renew & Refresh™. Seek to renew your current investors at the highest possible rate even as you look to bring others into the fold.

How do you do this? By being serious with your passion and demonstrating that to your potential investors by engaging with them, not selling to them.

Now that’s a sustainable fundraising idea.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.