Being a fundraising volunteer isn’t easy. One of the main reasons why is that it is so personal. It’s you, connecting with your peers, possibly even your friends or family, to ask them to be generous towards a cause you believe in. For even the most passionate volunteer, the experience can be a little nerve-wracking.

    This case of nerves often makes us willing to accept an easy out of personal asks. Have you ever experienced a situation like this?

    “Hi Ann, I’m helping to raise money for the new homeless shelter. I’d love to meet with you to tell you more about it.”

    “I’d love to meet with you Bruce, but I’m just so busy right now. Can you just send me something in the mail? Hal and I will look at it and get back to you.”

    If you have been in a situation like that, I bet part of you (maybe a big part) was secretly relieved. There’s a lot less personal risk in dropping some campaign materials in the mail than there is sitting down face to face. But with less risk comes significantly less reward.

    The next time you’re faced with the “just send me something in the mail” scenario, I want to challenge you to be willing to wait.

    “Ann, I totally understand you’re busy. I am too. But this cause is so important to me that I’m willing to wait until your schedule opens up. When can I check back with you to find a time that will work with you and Hal?”

    Why is it worth waiting?

    • Speaking in person allows you to convey why you, personally, are passionate about this campaign. You can share your personal story, tying the greater community benefit of the campaign to your life, and the life of the person you’re speaking with.
    • A gift made in haste will never be as generous as one given after thoughtful consideration. If Ann is too busy to talk this week, find a time when she (and her spouse) can focus on this, and make their own thoughtful decision.
    • By talking together, you can answer questions and clarify the project. Plus, you can watch and listen for all those subtle cues that tell you how they might be willing to participate.
    • Being together in person is valuable beyond the ask for support. It allows you to reconnect as friends or neighbors, deepening the relationship.

    Plus, you’d be amazed how fast their calendars open up when they realize you’re serious about this.

    The next time you take on the important role of fundraising volunteer, make a commitment to yourself and the cause you’re supporting: be willing to wait.

    Posted by Bruce Berglund on Jan. 29, 2016
    Bruce Berglund

    Written by Bruce Berglund

    Bruce Berglund, CFRE, is the founder and President of Donor by Design Group, LLC, a national firm providing comprehensive fundraising services to nonprofits, churches, community colleges and schools. Donor By Design is currently managing more than $1 Billion in capital, annual and endowment campaigns. Bruce is a highly sought-after writer, speaker and teacher.

    Our Latest Posts