There are two types of volunteers in the world: those who hate asking and those who love asking. I used to be a “hater,” always trying to avoid soliciting donors and auction items for my events. I just felt awkward asking people for things. However, when I learned the proper mindset of asking, my approach to seeking sponsorships and donations changed forever.
The reason why this shift in mindset is necessary is due to what we were taught at a young age—that it’s not polite to ask for money. But of course, in the world of nonprofits, asking for donations is the primary thing we do in order to effect the heartfelt changes we aspire to make in the world.
Sometimes we forget that our volunteers aren’t trained fundraisers and they lack the basic understanding of the science behind giving. We expect them to produce results without having the verbiage – the mindset – that helps us professionals succeed when approaching potential donors.
My own personal shift in mindset happened a few years ago when I learned something from a seasoned nonprofit fundraiser that changed the way I looked at asking for money and items. “You are not asking people for money,” the nonprofit pro admonished me, “you are offering an opportunity to do something meaningful!” Wow – this was absolutely true! We who are working on behalf of a charity organization are offering an opportunity for others to do something wonderful and meaningful.
Think about it. If someone asked you to give ten dollars to a charity with whom you are unfamiliar, you very likely would say “no”. However, if someone offered you the chance to change a child’s life by bringing tutors to under-served schools, and this essential assistance would only be $10, how could you resist?
Chances are you already knew about this mindset twist. You are a fundraising professional. But did you take the time to teach this concept to your committee?
If you are relying on a committee to procure sponsorships and auction items, it is essential that you actively shift them from an “ask phobic” to an “ask enthused” mind-set. Time and time again, I’ve seen this mental shift energize committees and create financially successful events. However, it’s entirely up to you as the organizer to set the tone and model this attitude in practice.
When I explain the difference between asking for money and offering an opportunity to my committees, their faces light up like its Christmas. The idea that they can offer an opportunity to friends, relatives and community merchants is very appealing. It makes the committee members feel empowered and that makes everyone excited about the prospect of creating your auction.
The phrase “change your words, change your life” comes to mind when I think of how this little verbal switcheroo affects volunteers. By giving your volunteer committees a shift in their mindset at the start of your event’s planning you are opening the door to amazing possibilities for your event’s success.
For more strategies and tips on creating successful fundraising events with your volunteer committees, visit us at www.QueenBeeFundraising.com