Should I Make the Plea?
This question seems to come up over and over again. You’ve been asked to speak about your nonprofit at a gathering of your local service organization or club, such as Rotary or Kiwanis, and you are so grateful for the opportunity that you are overly cautious about making a case for support. You worry that you might offend your host or hostess by asking for donations or might put the audience off by being so blatant in your appeal for support. The reality is though, if you don’t tell your audience that you need funds, they have no way of knowing that you do. Chances are, you dressed professionally, have rehearsed your talk, and maybe even prepared a powerpoint. You seem put together and your organization is doing great work. Your audience has no way of knowing that you are heavily dependent on individual donations and are still $40,000 away from your fundraising goal for the year.
Unless you tell them…
This is not the time to take the high road. You have a captive audience. You and your nonprofit cannot afford to pass up this opportunity to garner support, donations and volunteers. So my advice is always the same. With as much dignity, grace and pride as you can muster, tell your audience that you depend on support from the public to do the amazing work that is changing lives every single day.
Here is a sample blurb that might help you with putting together some phrasing that you liker:
“It costs x dollars to put each child through our program so we actively fundraise throughout the year to meet our budget and ensure we can offer our programs to every child who needs them. Our fundraising goal for this year is $120k and we’ve raised $80k so far. Please consider supporting us either through a gift, volunteering, or simply telling others about our work. Every single one of us is impacted in some way by children who suffer from severe emotional trauma. Our goal is reduce that impact by giving them the support they so desperately need. You can be part of that change. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing you’ve given a child a few hours of love, support. and emotional relief from the trauma they experience every day.”
Now, go make that ask!
And by the way, don’t forget to ask each member of that audience to go to your website and sign up for your newsletter and like your page on Facebook.