Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Can you answer when a donor asks: “Why Me?”

Anyone affiliated with a nonprofit knows that any attempt at fundraising can be met with a barrage of questions.

In fact, in his book The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks, Harvey McKinnon has encapsulated that barrage into 11 points. Being able to answer them can be crucial at fundraising time.The first question McKinnon poses – or has donors posing – is “Why Me?”, and it reflects the tendency of all human beings to think selfishly at some point or other.

He points out that by asking this question the prospect is trying to situate himself in the world, or at least in the world of the organization asking him for money. It includes such concerns as: Do you really know me?; Do you care about me?; and, Am I important to you for reasons other than money?

McKinnon suggests that there are many answers but that the following are especially pertinent and helpful with respect to the Why Me? question:
  • Because with your past gifts you have shown that you care;
  • Because you have met so-and-so (a person the cause/organization has helped) and your gift can help others like her;
  • Because you are respected and your support will inspire others; and,
  • Because you know how big the need is, and your gift will help to provide solutions.