How to Raise Funds to Attend the Blue Vision/Hill Day in 2015
Put your hand up please if you think it’s hard to raise money.
One reason it’s hard is that we don’t like to beg for things. We don’t like being subservient and submissive.
A key message I want to convey to you this afternoon is that you are NOT begging. You are giving donors the opportunity to support a great cause—saving the oceans. You are doing them a favor!
The first thing to do is to draft a case for coming to DC and attending the Blue Vision Summit and the Healthy Ocean Hill Day on May 13,in 2015.
The case outlines your vision. It must be exciting and challenging, and full of enthusiasm.
It must describe the expected results and benefits from coming to DC and what you will accomplish.
Why should the donor support you on this? What is fresh, unique, and innovative about what you are offering?
How will your attendance at the Blue Vision Summit on May 12 and Hill Day May 13 help save our oceans? What are your specific goals? How will you make a difference?
Don’t write, “I’m seeking travel money to attend a conference in DC.” That’s not very inspiring. Say instead, “I’m seeking travel money to help our organization stop people and industries abusing the oceans with disgusting plastic trash.”
Or, “A crucially important conference in DC next May will decide the future of the oceans and ocean policy. If I attend, I can meet my Senator and members of Congress and help stop our scandalous and devastating destruction of the oceans.”
Infuse your request with specificity and passion.
Having worked out in writing a persuasive case for supporting your request, the next thing to do is to identify prospects.
Think about who you know who might conceivably support you with a gift. It’s probably more people than you think. Think about people from your synagogue or church, your recent vacation, your neighbors, your last job, friends of your parents, your Board of Trustees, your Advisory Committee, donors to other nonprofits, and so on. You are looking for not only people with money, but for gatekeepers—people who can lead you to money.
Constantly seek out wealthy individuals and foundation executives. Be on the lookout for potential donors all the time. Ask your existing donors to introduce you to their wealthy friends.
The next thing to do is to ask for a meeting, but don’t start the meeting by selling. Start by listening: active, reflective listening; listen with your ears and your eyes. You want to understand this person—their goals, aspirations, and dreams.
Tune in to the donor as a person with ideas and feelings, not as a source of money. Your job is to build rapport with this donor and to build trust.
You are not selling a project, so much as a relationship. Donors give to people they trust and respect.
Asking for a gift is not really about raising money. Rather it is about nurturing and helping donors find meaning and purpose in their lives.
Talk to the donor about the vital importance of the oceans and the importance of the Blue Vision Summit and Hill Day next year.
Learn about your donor’s deepest longings, and find out what they really want and what is most important to them. Make an authentic, sincere, and genuine connection.
Remember that donors don’t give to needs or needy people, so don’t sell needs. Sell solutions, competence, and the vital importance of your project.
Sell saving the ocean and making the world a better place, so that future generations can live in peace.
You are helping the donor find and relish the joy of making a gift that will leave a legacy for future generations.
The only successful way to raise money is to build a relationship with the prospect based on integrity, sincerity, high standards, entrepreneurial zest, unflagging enthusiasm, and a passionate commitment to the mission of the Blue Vision Summit.
Ask for a gift when you have built up trust with the donor and when you have a sense of their capacity, interest, and priorities.
And do have the courage to ask for a gift. It takes audacity and daring. You will be way out of your comfort zone. Your heart will be thumping hard in your chest, but look the prospect in the eye and say, “Would you consider a gift of $12,500 so I can attend the Blue Vision Summit and help save the oceans?”
Always ask for a specific amount for a specific project. Don’t use a range, otherwise the floor becomes the ceiling.
After you’ve requested a gift, don’t say anything. This is known as “the pause after the ask.” Simply wait for the donor to respond.
If the donor says yes, thank him or her profusely, and of course afterwards write the person a warm, sincere, and emotionally charged letter of appreciation. You cannot thank donors enough.
If the donor says no, still thank them for spending time with you. Behave with dignity and empathy. Show cheerfulness, resiliency, and understanding. Keep the door open so you can go back and see them again at a later date and try again.
If you want handouts on fundraising and more guidance on how to raise money successfully, please go to my website www.ChrisPalmerOnline.com. You can find them handouts under the About Me and Resources tabs, as well as the Writing tab.