Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 2:59 pm | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 

Steven Crandell: What You Need to Know about Fundraising ... from the Master, Larry Crandell

Asking for a favor is one of the most important techniques of fundraising. That’s according to an expert who has helped raise an estimated $200 million for nonprofit organizations as a volunteer right here in Santa Barbara.

(Full disclosure: The expert, Larry Crandell, also raised me.)

But perhaps you’re thinking: Why would someone want to do you a favor if they don’t know you or like you yet?

To answer this, we need to state a basic tenet of fundraising: 

Charitable giving is like romance. It has a lot more long-term potential if it starts with a solid relationship.

And that brings us to the key question for all fundraising:

How do you build a relationship that can lead to giving? 

Of course, Larry has the solution:

» Ask potential donors to do you a favor.

» Get them to like what you do by experiencing it in action.

» Then see if there’s a good fit for giving.

A nonprofit organization that provides a painless opportunity for people to be of service also helps those people learn about its work. Before being asked for money, these potential donors have the chance to become involved in the cause. This is good for both the prospective giver and the nonprofit.

But how exactly does Larry manage to pull off this magic trick — to put the favor before the donation?

One of Larry’s first moves when he begins to help a nonprofit is to find out what kind of volunteer support it has — both from its board and from the community. If the nonprofit is new, he looks to how volunteer support can be developed. Then he helps the organization devise ways for potential supporters to do favors for the cause.

A favor might be simply asking for people's time and attention at a free informational breakfast about a new nonprofit or program. It might be a specific project — like recruiting people to help in a soup kitchen. A potential donor might be asked to serve on an advisory board. And many of us have been asked to engage in an activity such as running or walking in a race to support a cause.

But often the best way to involve people is to ask them to share their expertise. The accountant gives her financial insight. A lawyer gives advice on how to approach a legal problem. A construction company director helps build a home for the under-served. You get the idea.

Another effective approach is to ask a potential donor if their loved one might help. A granddaughter sings the national anthem at a nonprofit event. A son or a daughter is asked to apply for a volunteer internship. A spouse is asked to volunteer in an area where he or she already has skills.

And why does this matter to donors?

Philanthropists who support an organization often take on volunteer leadership roles in which they are asked to fundraise in addition to their own giving. In many cases, board members are a nonprofit’s most important fundraisers. A volunteer asking a favor of another potential volunteer is a beautiful and natural way to grow support for an organization.

Of course, nothing can make people give to organizations they don’t like or donate where they feel no connection to the cause. But asking them a favor can establish a relationship and introduce a potential donor not only to an organization but the people it serves.

In this way, strangers become part of the team. And if they feel like part of the team, they may want to help fund that team’s success.

There is nothing like being needed to inspire loyalty. Ask any mother or father.

(Source: Silver Tongue — Secrets of Mr. Santa Barbara)

— Author and writer Steven Crandell helps integrate story and strategy for organizations, with nonprofit foundations a particular focus. “Thinking Philanthropy” aims to provide practical, thought-provoking ideas about giving. This article was cross-posted on Tumblr. Steven can be contacted at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @stevencrandell. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >