When Donors Say ‘No’

Everything was perfect until your donor said ‘no’. Nothing can be more depressing than being rejected by a donor especially if you have dedicated your time and effort to win their nods. When donors decline, take the time to analyse the real root cause of the rejection. Instead of focusing on the failure, use this as an opportunity to analyse the factors that made your donors say ‘no’.  Start by thinking through the following questions:

Was your ask properly crafted?

Before you proceed with making an ask, you need to build a positive relationship with your prospect. This way, you will feel more comfortable knowing that you have cultivated the prospect. It is also important to focus on the prospect who has already indicated an interest in your organisation. When asking, make sure you ask for a specific amount and explain the purpose of asking.

Have you taken the time to cultivate the prospect?

Your donors are more likely to say no if they have not been properly cultivated. You need to make an effort to have a meaningful conversation with your prospect so you will know the things they are interested in. Being a complete stranger to your organisation will make your prospects feel left out. Make sure your prospects have taken at least one step to become part of your team.

Asking them to attend a fundraising event or volunteer at your organisation can make them feel involved. As you make an ask, see to it that you are familiar with your project or program. When it comes to making an ask, you will also have to take your donor’s financial capacity into great consideration. Make sure they have the capacity to give at the level you are expecting. Another reason donors say no is when you are expecting too much from them. The cultivation process is an essential part of getting to know your prospect because it allows you to find out if they are really interested in your organisation.

Why did your prospects say no?

It is still possible for your prospect to say no even if they have been properly cultivated and the ask has been properly crafted. This only means that one of your assumptions might be incorrect. You may have already thought that they have the financial capacity to give, but this might be wrong. Perhaps they may have the willingness to give but not at the amount you have suggested. Your donors may have said no but this does not necessarily mean that the meeting is over. You just need to continue to cultivate your prospect to get to know them on a more personal level.

Melissa Anderson

Written by : Melissa Anderson

Melissa first started fundraising when her daughters' pre-school needed some sun shades. Since then, she's gone on to become somewhat of  fundraising ideas expert, as well as a super-Mum. Melissa loves sharing ideas about how to raise funds, and welcomes your questions on this blog.

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