Improve the Odds – Ask Face to Face

Most fundraisers would prefer do just about anything than ask someone for money face-to-face. Even for those, experienced or not, who find it somewhat “easy,” it can be awkward and anxiety-inducing. Yet we do it – or we aim to do it – because deep down we know it will end up making a huge impact… and the facts back that up.


Asking in-person is proven to have the highest rate of success among all methods.

Kent Dove of the Indiana University Foundation analyzed different ways of giving. Unsurprisingly, direct mail has the lowest success rate of the traditional fundraising methods –just 1-2%. Phone calls – not cold calls but calls from one’s Alma mater or place of worship – have a 25% success rate.

Face-to-face asks however – 75%! That means three out of four face-to-face meetings result in a charitable gift of some kind. Those are great odds.

The largest gifts from donors always come from asking in-person.

How many of the big donations you read about came from direct mail, special events, or a phonathon? Next to none! Large gifts come about by cultivating donors over time and getting to know them in person, and then finally asking them face-to-face to make a gift.

But why is face-to-face soliciting so successful?

Well, first of all, if someone agrees to even meet with you, that shows a very high interest in donating of some sort. Generally your donors won’t want to meet if they aren’t inclined to give you a gift.

Second, meeting in-person is proven to build the relationship. It causes a deeper level of empathy to develop between you and your donor, which would not be reached otherwise. Being with each other physically and being eye-to-eye creates an immediate bond – a direct desire to come through and be seen as good in the other’s eyes. This solicitation is much more powerful than connecting over the phone or through email.

Brian Saber is President of Asking Matters – a online learning platform that trains people how to ask for money and motivates them to do it! Combining the best low-expense and high quality resources in the field, he promises that Asking Matters will help countless organizations continue to do incredible work for their causes.

View & register for Brian’s upcoming webinars.

What Do You Mean You Don’t Need an Annual Report? It’s Not About You!

annual report vector file - purchased by JWS

I love teaching the Annual Reports webinars for CharityHowTo’s participants (How to Create an Awesome Annual Report and How to Transition Your Annual Report to an Infographic). Professionals who attend and engage  have excellent questions, constructive ideas for others, and thoughtful approaches to serving their donors. And fundraising publications are one of my favorite topics in development. Sure, as a professional writer, I’m biased, but every nonprofit needs them and (should) use collateral all the time!

While I know the folks who attend these webinars benefit from the conversation, I have also noticed a big problem. I receive A LOT of emails from potential participants who are interested in learning about infographics or fundraising publications in general but say to me “we don’t publish an annual report and don’t see a need to do one.”

Pause. Deep breath Heather.

The annual report has nothing to do with you or your organization and everything to do with your donors. It’s about and for them. Donors expect an annual report or an update on the impact of their gifts. This is donor-centered fundraising 101: “It’s because of you, dear donor, that these results are possible.” It’s not just a kind or trendy way to approach your work with donors. Being donor-centered increases donor retention and gift acquisition. Period. Isn’t that what we’re all working towards?

Make your annual report a priority. If you’re not already publishing one, get one on the calendar next year. Your bottom line simply can’t wait!


Ready to create your annual report?

Join me for the live, premium webinar about Annual Reports in August. Look for dates to open soon! If you can’t make a live event, no worries. There’s a recorded version of each webinar, and you can find those by clicking on the annual report links in this article. Register now – your donors deserve it!

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