Sample Fundraising Scripts “Hi ______ this is _______. Are you busy?” Wait for answer. While “chit-chat” can be a good way to start the conversation, keep in mind that the longer you wait to get to the point, the harder it will be. And be careful not to give the impression to your friends that you are calling just to catch up, because that will seem insincere when you get to the real reason you are calling. “You know, I’m really excited lately about this bike ride I’m doing in May. It’s a fundraiser called Ride For The Feast and I’ve promised to raise $1,500 that will go directly to feed people who are living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or other life challenging illnesses. Have you heard of Moveable Feast?” Wait for answer. Depending on the response either move on or explain what Moveable Feast is, what we do, and who we serve. “Moveable Fest prepares and delivers nutritious meals to people living with HIV/AIDS or cancer and their dependent children. They also provide transportation to and from facilities used by homeless people so they can access needed social services. Moveable Feast also provides job training services. As I said earlier my fundraising goal is $1,500, and I’m doing some legwork to try and get closer to it. I was wondering if you could help me out with a $100 donation?” It is very important to aim high. Although some people may not be able to give such a high amount you never know until you ask. “I was wondering if you could help me meet my goal tonight?”… Wait for an answer, and don’t be afraid of the “awkward silence.” Silence means that they are thinking; it should be clear that it is their turn to speak. Tips for Fundraising Phone Calls Resist the temptation to give your friend an easy out by saying, “It’s totally cool if you can’t help out,” or “no big deal if you can’t, really.” That technique takes pressure off your friend, but it sends them the message that this cause is not that serious to you, and may lessen the commitment they would be willing to make otherwise. If they say they will donate, simply say “Thank you. That’s really great and it’s going to get me a lot closer to my goal. Would you like to write a check, donate online, or give me a credit card number?” Then give them the mailing address of Moveable Feast if they want to write a check. Donors can also donate online quickly and securely, but be sure you write down that they are doing so, to follow up and verify the transaction has taken place. Be sure to thank your friend for donating. Then hang up the phone and pat yourself on the back. You’ve just gotten one step closer to reaching your goal. Tips on Asking for Money: Effective Approaches for Personal Solicitation By Tricia Rubacky, Director of Development, Open Society Institute Do Don’t Assume it will go well, and try to relax. Apologize for asking, or for taking up their time. Develop a script for asking. (See the sample script in Dialing for Dollars.) o Talk about why you care about this cause; remember, your commitment is showing o Convey a true story about the impact the organization is having o Practice on someone who will critique your approach and give you honest feedback. (They may even make a donation!) Begin by joking about hitting them up or twisting their arm. Fundraising is not a contact sport. Don’t squeeze in the ask in an elevator, in line at the grocery store, or in any other setting where the circumstances limit the flow of the conversation. Decide not to ask. You will get through it! Try to fill in pauses or gaps in conversation by continuing to talk. Sometimes silence is golden. Interrupt the person while they are speaking. Plan ahead. If you are asking in person, know where you are going to meet and be on time. Hear “no” if the donor is saying “maybe” or “not now.” Try to ask for a donation face-to-face; the next best approach is by phone. Take it personally if the person says no. Most likely, their response has nothing to do with you. Tell the prospective donor your goal. Ask for a specific contribution, then stop talking. Listen to what the donor says and respond to the questions and comments they make. Make up answers to questions if you are unsure. It’s better to promise to get back to the donor with an answer. Give up or get discouraged easily. Thank the donor for the donation, for spending the time with you, and for thinking about it if they did not decide on the spot. Celebrate your success. Getting out there and asking is a huge step.
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