Three client prospects recently asked for help in developing sponsorships. They were looking at sponsorship because they had found donations extremely difficult to secure.
In each case I agreed to meet with them once for free to see whether or not I felt I could make sponsorship work for them. I asked each to bring all their fundraising materials to our meeting.
To my amazement, each brought three to seven pages of “fundraising materials” that
- Bulleted why their programs are important
- Provided research about how programs such as these contribute to a community
- Offered lists of benefits to donors or sponsors
- Talked about how much money is needed
- Detailed how money is spent
- Identified organizations they work with, or are affiliated with
- Describe people being supported by their programs
Nowhere in any of the pages of facts, opinions, research, or information was a request for money.
Here’s the bottom line in fundraising: You must ASK.
True, it’s uncomfortable to say “Can you provide $100,000 in funds for this project?” and then be silent while they contemplate their answer. But it is the only way to raise funds, or to secure sponsorship for that matter. You must ASK.
The easiest, most graceful way to ‘ask’ is to say: “Join Us …” with a response form that says “Yes, I want to help…. I can provide…” Follow that with check boxes for three to five levels of gifts: ☐ $1,000 ☐ $500 ☐ $100 ☐ $50 ☐ Other: $_________
Your top level may be $100,000, $10,000, or $100 – it doesn’t matter. Just offer a few options that are realistic for the people you will be talking to.
Include contact information, and a signature and date line, and you have a commitment of money!
Add three more check boxes:
- My check is enclosed
- Please send me an invoice at the above address
- Please charge my credit card (and provide blanks for credit card information)
And you have actually raised funds, or secured a sponsorship. It’s key to both charitable fundraising and sponsorship.
You must ASK!