Four Ways to Make Asking for Money Less Scary

Creating your crowdfunding campaign page, building your team, and putting together an outreach plan is easy compared to asking the people you know for money. Perhaps it’s the fear of embarrassment, rejection, or hurting your relationships. Maybe it’s a little of all three.

Crowdfunding is not meant to be transactional. It’s meant to be a way to activate people and bring them joy as they participate in a cause or project bigger than themselves.

1. Get Permission Before Your Campaign Launches

The most intimidating part of campaigning is sending out that first round of emails to your friends, family, coworkers, mentors, and peers. You can craft the most eloquent email, and still, you hover over the “send” button for a bit.

There’s no doubt; it’s scary business when you don’t know how your contacts are going to respond.

But what if you knew that the person on the other side of the email was expecting it? And what if – even better – you knew that they were eager to receive your email?

It’s not only possible for this to be the case, but getting permission from your contacts before you ever send them outreach emails should be the standard. By reaching out to each person individually before you launch your campaign, you neutralize the risk of receiving a negative response (which is unlikely to begin with, but hey, it happens).

To employ permission-first crowdfunding, select a communication platform for each contact that is most comfortable (social media? a phone call? email?). Then, include the following information in your communication with them:

  1. What your crowdfunding campaign is all about.
  2. Why you chose them. Perhaps they have a similar passion, or they just believe in you and are big fans of who you are.
  3. Ask them to confirm their email address if they would like future updates on your campaign. Let them know that it’s how you’ll reach out to them.

The beauty of permission-first crowdfunding is that once you get confirmation of their email, you know that they will be expecting future updates. You’ll feel more accountable to your fundraising goal, and your future donors will be even more excited when they receive that first email from you!

2. Change the Way You Look at Rejection

Some fundraisers seem to be stuck inside the fear that they will be rejected. To them, it’s a direct blow to who they are as a person. The reality is, not every person you reach out to will give to your campaign, and that’s okay!

We love this snippet from The Generosity Network (which we highly recommend every fundraiser to read!) about rejection:

It hurts to be turned down. But if you remember that people really do want to make a difference on the planet with their lives and with their money, you realize that rejection is fundamentally impossible.

This claim may be hard to believe. It flies in the face of what every fundraiser “knows.” But remember […] it’s not about the money, it’s about transformation.

If your goal is larger than just directing resources to your own cause – if your goal is to guide people to look inside themselves and discover what they truly care about, as part of their personal journey to a transformed, more meaningful existence – then there is no possibility of rejections. What masquerades as “rejection” is really just the flow of resources into a different channel. […]

Learn to take a different mindset – to recognize that your acquaintance’ss self-discovery is a victory for the world, not a rejection of you and your organization.

When you look at rejection this way, it’s much easier to stomach a “no.” Even better, you might even be able to celebrate it! Your friend, family member, or coworker is channeling their funds into another area that reflects the things they care most about in this world. How cool is that?!

Begin shifting the way you view rejection – your enthusiasm will be a domino effect for your team as they also learn to celebrate the inevitable “no’s!”

3. Don’t Ask For Money Outright

Believe it or not, you can fundraise without ever saying the words, “Please donate to my Crowdfunding Campaign.”

Shocking? Consider just a few ways you can engage donors and get them excited to give without ever asking them directly for money:

  • Tell a great story that highlights a need. Make it people-focused and share the impact your initiative has had in the past and/or will have if you do meet your goal. Telling a well-crafted story can engage your audience and allow them the opportunity to be an extension of that story. There’s no better feeling for a donor than to know they are participating in philanthropy that has a real impact on real people.
  • Ask your contacts to share the campaign with their own networks or volunteer their time or expertise in other ways. Asking your community to participate in a way that doesn’t immediately require their finances is a great way to build relationships with them, and it’s a lot less scary than asking for money right away. Many donors start by volunteering and then later go on to donate!
  • Publicly thank donors who have already given. Simon-Fraser’s MASS Impact team shared with us that one of their greatest instruments in engaging new donors was thanking their current donors by tagging them on social media. People love being in community, and they want to know that their financial gift was well received. Thanking donors on a public platform not only sends the message that you appreciate them, but it also tells potential donors that their gifts will really matter to you and your group.

4. Believe that Your Cause Really Matters

Nine out of ten of the people you know are already donating to causes, so why not to yours?

If you’re going to go out into the field and fundraise for your crowdfunding campaign, you better believe that your campaign is worthy of donations. You must love the work you do, love the people it affects, and love the community that surrounds it. If all of these check out, then the fear of asking for money will dissipate. Remember, if your cause matters deeply to you, then it’s going to matter deeply to others.

And so we leave you with this: Your cause is worthy, and you are worthy. When you realize this, then you realize that there is nothing left to be afraid of.


Kristen Gluch | Director of Content Development

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