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Avoiding “No.”

So much attention is focused on the dreaded “ask” in fundraising. That is to say the solicitation. Asking someone for money is perhaps the most anxiety inducing part of fundraising. And it needn’t be.

I could wax on and on about how the asking isn’t a major part of the fundraising process or perhaps even not the most important. That discussion I’ll save for another time, however.

The not so unique fundraising idea, is that at some point, you must ask. The number of gifts I have received in my career that are truly reflective of the investor’s financial ability without asking for them I can count using the fingers on one hand.

So, how do we avoid “no”. Or even can we? I’ll be honest. You can’t avoid “no’s” in fundraising. Nor do you even want to make that your goal. Rather, when you first engage a prospective investor ask those questions for which the answer is not a “yes” or “no.” These questions revolve around the potential supporter’s interests and values.

Engage the other person in a conversation; one that opens the door to their heart. Giving is an emotional decision. It isn’t even about a transfer of funds, per se. It’s about a connection of values and visions. There’s the unique fundraising idea.

Once you’ve engaged your potential investor on the basis of her values, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the response when the question is posed that does involve money.

Principle 1 of The Eight Principles™ is Donors are the Drivers. It’s not about donors’ money. It’s about their values.

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