Goldilocks Fundraising: How often is just right?

It seems people ask Ken Burnett How often should we ask?

People ask me that too. Everyone would like to know if there’s some magic number you can ask your donors — the Goldilocks Number that’s not too little and not too much, but Just Right.

Ken has a smart answer to that question:

It’s not about how often you ask…. We have to consider our timing, our storytelling ability, the donor’s comfort, interests and potential for resentment and our ability to inspire and create rapport. And the rest. There can be no optimum number to cover such an intimate and personal inter-relationship. I wouldn’t pronounce upon it any more than I might aspire to tell people how often they should have sex.

Any consultant or expert who tells you a there’s a Goldilocks Number for fundraising is just as scoff-worthy as someone who says they know how often you should have sex.

Here’s what I can tell you about the right amount of fundraising asks:


  • You can probably ask more than you do now.
  • I’ve never yet heard of an organization that improved its revenue by asking less.
  • If you’re talking to all your donors all the time, you’re doing it wrong.

Beyond that, I can’t tell you anything useful on that topic until I know a lot about your donors. I’d be a charlatan if I tried.


Comments

6 responses to “Goldilocks Fundraising: How often is just right?”

  1. Love this subject, and have posted on it. http://clairification.blogspot.com/2012/02/shall-we-dance-how-often-should-we-ask.html
    This is “an intimate and personal inter-relationship” as Ken Burnett so aptly puts it. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to building personal relationships. Sometimes you’ll ask someone to dance and they’ll say no. Maybe they’re just tired. Maybe they don’t like this particular dance. No is not the end of the conversation.

  2. Love this subject, and have posted on it. http://clairification.blogspot.com/2012/02/shall-we-dance-how-often-should-we-ask.html
    This is “an intimate and personal inter-relationship” as Ken Burnett so aptly puts it. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to building personal relationships. Sometimes you’ll ask someone to dance and they’ll say no. Maybe they’re just tired. Maybe they don’t like this particular dance. No is not the end of the conversation.

  3. OK. This is another good point. So it is indeed important to build rapport and ask the donor at the right time. Also important to know the donor. I guess this is one of the reason why my post sought after donor who promised to give a good amount still has not fulfilled his promise because I always asked him when he’s flat out busy. Better find the right time then.

  4. OK. This is another good point. So it is indeed important to build rapport and ask the donor at the right time. Also important to know the donor. I guess this is one of the reason why my post sought after donor who promised to give a good amount still has not fulfilled his promise because I always asked him when he’s flat out busy. Better find the right time then.

  5. Eden, your challenge really isn’t addressed on this blog. You are not a registered official charity, so strangers are almost guaranteed not to give to your cause. Your audience is people who know you and/or your grandmother personally, and to a lesser extent, the people in your communities (church, neighborhood, workplace, etc.) where you are known. The things discussed here really won’t make a difference for your situation. Good luck!

  6. Eden, your challenge really isn’t addressed on this blog. You are not a registered official charity, so strangers are almost guaranteed not to give to your cause. Your audience is people who know you and/or your grandmother personally, and to a lesser extent, the people in your communities (church, neighborhood, workplace, etc.) where you are known. The things discussed here really won’t make a difference for your situation. Good luck!

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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