5 Tips for Asking Your Constituents for Donations

by: Helene DeLaurentis, Chief Financial Officer

When it comes to asking for financial contributions, many nonprofit fundraisers feel overwhelmed. It can be difficult and intimidating to ask for someone’s hard earned money. It’s becoming increasingly harder to convince donors to give to your organization. You must have a clear explanation for why you need the funds, and how they will be used.

Here are 5 quick tips to help you ask for support from your constituents.


Understand Your Prospects
Raising funds is what helps others connect their passion to your cause. The key to asking for support is understanding what’s important to each potential donor. To achieve this, you’ll need to research your constituents as individuals. Build personal relationships with them by spending time talking with them. Sharing a meal or having a conversation at an event is a very effective way to get to know someone personally. Ask your donors about their passions, what causes they care about, and what objections and concerns they have. It’s okay to ask them about their past giving, what types of organizations they have supported in the past, and what they look for in a charity. Make sure you are documenting every contact and all of the information you learn. That way you can refer back to it the next time you want to reach out to them. Argenta nonprofit management software provides an extensive interface for tracking everything about your constituents.


Be Transparent
Donors love to see how their money is being used. Sharing the outcomes of the programs you facilitate and the services you provide is a great way to keep donors engaged. Being transparent allows for open lines of communication, so you can easily ask them to continue their support. Don’t just share your successes, share your failures too. Failing fast, learning valuable lessons and sharing those experiences with your supporters shows integrity and tenacity for your mission.


Ask for Advice
Many people want to be heard and asking them for advice is one way to make them feel a part of your mission. More importantly, asking your donor for advice makes them feel important and valued.

Be Very Specific
You should know exactly what you’re asking for before you ask. If you’re asking for money know how much you need ahead of time. If possible, ask for funding for a specific project or to build something, even if it’s just to reach a fundraising goal.


Know When to Ask for Donations
There are a few occasions throughout the year that provide unique opportunities to ask for donations. One of these Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving when people want to give back to their favorite charities. It is one of the biggest fundraising days of the year. Another is cause months. If the cause that you support has a special month, for example Self-Help Group Awareness Month or Poverty in America Awareness Month. Use these opportunities to amplify your fundraising efforts.