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Need and Imagination: Principles for Raising Dollars, Support

sprig by Posted in Grants, Tools You Can Use

Whether you need to raise dollars, awareness or advocates, all organizations are looking for other to help them achieve their mission. Some organizations aren’t aware they need help; others don’t know how to ask for it.

Last month, I attended a session at Minnesota Council on Nonprofit’s Northern Minnesota Nonprofit Summit where Minnesota Historical Society Development Officer Matt Musel presented on how to understand your organization’s needs and dreams and how to ask for help.

Here’s what I learned that might be of value to you – our nonprofit partners and community leaders.

Mr. Musel laid out three questions to consider:

1) Does your project need help? Before you can even start thinking about raising anything, you need to ask yourself this question. If the answer is no, then you can stop right there. In order to succeed in fundraising, support raising, etc., you need to get in the mindset that you are asking for help.

2) What are your needs? To achieve project success, you need to first clearly define and understand your needs. Do you need volunteers, money or goods? Be excruciatingly specific. Then start thinking about how your needs align could with the aspirations of potential donors.

3) What are some imaginative ways to meet your needs? Once you have identified your needs, it’s time to do some outreach. Resist the temptation to “sell” your need. Your job here is not to know what’s best for the donor, but to listen. Listen, listen, listen, then work with the donor to brainstorm imaginative ways to find where their passion and your needs meet. It’s always best to make them feel like they are a part of the solution.

What experiences or lessons learned do you have when it comes to raising support? Post below!

For more information, here’s a link to a helpful worksheet distributed by Mr. Musel during his session.



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