Many of us have a difficult time asking others to donate. Despite having good intentions, we often feel guilty, intrusive, or bothersome. While common, this mindset doesn’t serve us, our community, or the organizations we care about. If we want to enable nonprofits to make a larger impact in our world, we have to shift the way we view asking for donations.
One reason we feel uncomfortable asking others to give is that we perceive it as “taking” something valuable from someone else. We’re asking someone to give money while receiving nothing tangible in return. While no product or service is received in exchange for a donation, you are presenting someone with a wonderful opportunity when asking them to give. Giving has positive benefits for both the donor and the recipient. Benefits for the organization and its cause are easy to imagine and may include outcomes such as improving programming, increasing employee well-being, or reaching a larger number of people. As for the donor, giving is known to improve well-being and is associated with better health. It increases positive feelings about oneself, as the individual feels good that they not only have the ability to, but also chose to help someone in need.
The benefits of donating don’t end there. Giving also helps build connections and grow a greater sense of community. It allows an individual to express their values by connecting with causes and others who share similar beliefs and goals. By giving to a nonprofit, people may be introduced to others in their community who also care about the cause and have a similar worldview. It presents an opportunity for friendship and establishes a sense of togetherness within the community. Depending on how they choose to give, they may also have the opportunity to connect with and learn from the people whom the organization serves. Ultimately, not only the lives of the beneficiaries are improved, but the lives of the donors and the community are improved as well. How can we feel bad about asking when these are the results for the donor?
Shifting your mindset about asking for donations will also help your organization improve its communications and fundraising strategies. By considering the benefits for the donor, you will be reminded to share data and stories about how their gift was used so that they can experience these positive emotions surrounding their donation and impact. It will facilitate real relationship building with your donors, rather than having you simply ask for and accept donations without creating any connection. You will also likely see increased donor retention because your donors will be more involved and invested in your organization and cause. Naturally, we may still hesitate to ask others for a donation, but by focusing on the benefits for the donor as well as the needs of the organization, you’ll feel more inspired and excited to ask.