Amy Eisenstein unlocked one of the great mysteries of the universe. Turns out, a fundraising consultant from New Jersey has known the secret all along.
â€œAsking more frequently seems ridiculously obvious,â€ she said. â€œIf you want to raise more money, even in this economy, you need to get out there and ask.â€
I attended a workshop recently called â€œ50 Asks in 50 Weeks: How to Jumpstart Your Small Development Office.â€ The event was hosted by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. Eisenstein is a consultant and author with expertise in fundraising. (It's Eisenstein â€” not Einstein, though she is very smart.)
My husband and I have been working with a group of friends for the past year to create our own nonprofit.
Oklahoma is already home to more than 19,000 nonprofits, according to the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits.
To say our â€œdevelopment officeâ€ is â€œsmallâ€ is a compliment. Our development office is actually our kitchen table.
So I went to Eisenstein's workshop in Oklahoma City with high hopes for what I would learn.
How do you get donations, even in a tough economy?
Eisenstein's advice was simple: ask.
Maybe her name should be Einstein.
The more she spoke, the more I realized that our organization doesn't ask directly for money very often, though we talk about our group to anyone who'll listen.
Eisenstein explained how nonprofits can broaden their funding horizons. Ask for money often, and ask for money correctly.
Here are a few of her tips: