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Asking for Advice (and why you should do it)

Do you feel alone in your fundraising work?

A lot of us do.

And, in our isolation, we somehow convince ourselves that people will think less of us if we ask for help. Or we don’t want to “bother” anyone. Or, we think people are too busy.

As you craft your essential stories, case document, and other key elements of your fundraising story collection, you have a tremendous opportunity to engage supporters – not by sending out more information, but by asking for their advice.

Simply invite some of your close supporters to review these materials before you finish writing them. Show them a nearly-finished draft, and ask them for their advice.

To get the most from this review, be specific about what you want them to check:

  • Is it clear/easy to understand? Even for someone who doesn’t already know about who we are or what we do?
  • Are we asking for the right donation amounts?
  • Does anything in this raise questions about us that might inhibit giving?
  • Ask any other specific question you have about the piece you’re working on.

By asking for answers to specific questions, you’ll avoid responses like, “It’s great!” that don’t tell you anything.

Often, when you ask for advice, supporters will tell you exactly how they prefer to be asked for support. The transparency you show in conversations around how you raise funds invites them to be transparent about how they approach giving.

This isn’t a trick to get them to give more. It is an invitation to understand each other and to come into a closer relationship.

They will be honored to know you considered their advice, and acted on it. And–don’t miss this–they’ll want to know how it worked out. Be sure to report back and thank them for their advice!

Ultimately, fundraising is about relationships. Asking for advice is one way you can engage supporters and get to know them better.

P.S. My latest podcast episode is about asking for advice. You can listen to the Life and Mission Podcast on your favorite podcast app, or here and on YouTube.

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