If you’re feeling passionate about a particular charity or cause, getting other people involved is one of the best things you can do to help. Most nonprofit organizations need regular donations and volunteers just to stay afloat, and introducing new people to your cherished causes can make it easier for groups to raise money, organize, and make a difference in the world.
Asking people to join you in supporting a cause can sometimes feel a little awkward. After all, no one wants to feel like they’re begging their friends and family for contributions or annoying the people who follow them on social media. Luckily, it’s possible to get people interested and invested in things you care about without making it awkward. Here are six tips for politely asking for donations and making the most of holiday giving season, special occasions, and more to support the movements you care about.
1. Ask for donations in lieu of gifts on special occasions.
If you have a cause that’s important to you, people may be more likely to contribute on a day that is special to you or when they’d already be spending money on a gift for you anyway. Sending out requests to donate money as a gift on your birthday, during the winter holidays, or for a wedding or anniversary can be a fantastic, casual way to solicit significant donations without putting any stress on yourself or the people giving.
2. Email a reminder to donate for a cause on Giving Tuesday.
With the boom of Black Friday sales, it’s difficult for anyone to forget that the day after Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. What may fall under the radar is the fact that the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to donating to causes and giving back to your community.
Before Giving Tuesday, connect with friends via email or text to see if they’d like to join together to donate to a cause along with you. You might also consider sending an email in the days leading up to Giving Tuesday letting friends and family know where you’ll be donating and sharing that you’d love their support. Keep it short and sweet:
Giving Tuesday is coming up, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share a special cause with you. I’m donating to [name of cause] because [reason for donating]. Your support will contribute to [goal]. If you plan to participate in Giving Tuesday this year, I hope you’ll join me in supporting this important work.
3. Tie your request to a special event for a natural deadline.
People often function better with a deadline, and you can use this to your advantage. Rather than making an open donation request, try including a timeline and tying your request to a specific goal.
We’ve set a goal to raise $300 by next Friday at 10:00 p.m.
We need 12 volunteers to sign up before our event on Christmas Eve.
Setting a deadline creates a sense of urgency. It also encourages people to think seriously about how and if they’re able to contribute before the deadline passes. Most importantly, it communicates the importance of contributing without creating too much pressure. People can still choose to contribute or not, but they need to make their decision as soon as possible.
4. Tailor your message to the person you’re asking.
No one likes a form letter, right? Get creative with your donation requests. If you’re asking friends, try including a funny meme or joke to put them at ease. For newcomers to the cause, share a few key facts about why the cause is important to you or what specific things donations will support. Language matters as well, so you might also consider using synonyms for the word donate to keep it fresh and remind people what their money is really going towards. Consider a more impactful word, like contribute, support, grant, or provide.
5. Get educated about your cause and share why it matters to you.
Passion is contagious, and a big part of getting other people excited to contribute to a cause is sharing why it means so much to you. The more you learn about your cause, the better you’ll be able to answer questions about specific ways people can contribute, why that cause is vital, and how people are actually making a difference when they give their time or money.
When you’re writing an email or social media post to request donations, try to include information like:
- How you learned about the cause.
- Past success stories or fundraisers that led to meaningful action.
- What percentage of donations go towards the cause and how those funds are used.
- Stories of real people or places impacted by your cause.
- Why you give your own time or money to that cause.
6. Make it easy to contribute.
Once you’ve convinced people of the importance of your cause, you need to make the actual donation process as simple as possible. Many websites and social media platforms make it as easy as clicking a button to donate. If you’re creating your own online fundraiser, do so with a reputable website that has a transparent donation process, and always link people to the exact pages they need to visit. When soliciting donations via text or email, consider including brief instructions letting people know step-by-step what they need to do to make their donation. The less work they have to do, the more likely you are to succeed in getting your causes on their radar.