After last week’s focus on donors and what they have to say about their charitable contributions, I’ve decided to change the focus and ask volunteer solicitors to talk about their most rewarding solicitation experience and what needs to happen to keep them involved next year. Similar to last week, this week’s respondents answered an anonymous online survey that they learned about on various social media channels and from blast emails. I’ve picked four really awesome responses to share with you this week that I think provide excellent lessons for non-profit and fundraising professionals. Enjoy!!!
Again … the survey was anonymous because I wanted the truth, the whole truth and nothing up the truth. Here is what the today’s highlighted survey respondent said:
Question: Using the comment box below, please write a paragraph or two about your most rewarding solicitation experience (e.g. when you sat down eyeball-to-eyeball with someone else and asked them to consider making a charitable contribution). Why was it so rewarding for you? How did you feel going into the meeting? And what made you feel comfortable enough with doing such a solicitation?
Answer: I was asked by one of my favorite non-profit organizations to contact someone who I really didn’t consider a friend but knew casually through mutual friends. It took more than a month and many phone calls before she responded and I was able to get the meeting. While I was not expecting much, I did get a generous pledge from her. I’m not sure if it was the most “rewarding” solicitation I’ve ever done, but it is the hardest I ever had to work to secure a contribution. In hindsight, I can’t honestly say that I ever felt “comfortable” making that ask or being put in that situation.
Question: Understanding you are probably a very busy person, what does the charity that you’ve made some solicitation calls for need to do (or show you) in order to renew your commitment as a volunteer solicitor in the next fundraising campaign?
Answer: I don’t want to go out and bust my butt if the non-profit who has recruited me is seen as being in “poor standing” in the community. I am attaching my good name to this agency, and choosing to help a non-profit with a poor public opinion and bad management reflects poorly on me. I look for quality organizations that are dedicated to sustainable business practices.
OK … unlike last week when I couldn’t resist weighing in with my thoughts, I’m going to take a risk and ask YOU to weigh-in and share what you think the moral to the story is. And the risk I’m referring to is . . . no one is going to comment and all anyone will hear is the sound of crickets. Please use the comment box below and remember that we can all learn from each other. I also encourage you to share links to resources that you’ve found on the internet.
Here is to your health!Erik Anderson Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC email@example.com http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847 http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847 http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847
I get a strong sense of ambivalence from this respondent…at being placed in the situation of “having” to ask an acquaintance to support the organization and at being in a situation of leveraging his/her contacts to support an organization that he/she doesn’t wholly support. Perhaps the moral of the story is to say “no” to requests when one isn’t completely comforable with the organization.
I agree with Danise’s comment. The best asks come between friends, who can speak from the heart and candidly, not through those who “have” to ask. First, re-building an organization’s reputation should be done by staff and board, those closest to the org. and who feel the importance of getting it right. Even with the strongest NP orgs in a community, sending people out who are not comfortable with presenting the opportunity to invest is dangerous! If hesitancy is sensed from the org’s rep, then the investor might feel that there is something they don’t know and be hesitant to support. Training your reps so they have the tools and know how to use them is the best use of time, in my opinion, for your campaign. It is not easy to make the ask if you don’t do it often, but even more tough if you don’t feel that you have the ability to do it well.
Thanks for the helpful blog.