The Inner-Fundraiser

Not everyone has the skills of great fundraiser: the ability to work a room, talk to anyone, make them feel comfortable, focus attention on their guests and ask for money. Fundraisers with these skills raise money and teach and show others in their organization.

EVERYONE at a nonprofit agency is a fundraiser. We need to bring out the inner-fundraiser in everyone: staff, Board, donors and volunteers. Cultivation and fundraising events can require a bit of social finesse and skill.

Good news: We can charm the inner-fundraiser out of anyone! It’s about creating relationships and learning about another person. It is an outwardly focused presence.

Working a crowd but don’t know what to say? Here are some questions to get the conversation going:

  • Introduce yourself as a Board member, volunteer or staff member.
    • Share briefly why or how you got involved.
  • Ask the guest how they find out about our organization/event?
  • What interested them most about the organization?
  • Offer a some information on the organization – Did you know that __________________? Requires a little more knowledge.
  • Have they attended an event here before?
  • Are there other organizations they volunteer and/or support?

Feeling more comfortable? Next level of conversation – find some common ground.

  • What neighborhood, school, church do they attend?
  • Are they going to or coming from any vacations?
  • What is a common question in your area? Sports, weather, real estate, schools?

Including others and passing off to another person. At some point you will need to talk with other people in the room. Let’s do this gracefully.

  • Since you are interested in this – let me introduce you to……
  • Have you met our new staff person……
  • I would like to have ___________ talk to you about the program that interests you
  • ____________ is a member on the Board of Directors.
  • Let me introduce you to our Executive Director.

It is worth tapping into the inner-fundraiser in all your leadership and staff! Practice, practice, practice. Go forth and prosper!

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