I was reading an article today from the Chronicle of Philanthropy on who is the best person in an organization to ask a potential donor for support. The response from Kent Dove, a former development officer at Indiana University included a reference to the “six rights” when asking for funding. He says “Aim for the right person to ask the right donor for the right amount in the right form at the right time and for the right purpose.”
He is so right! In working with many donors, I often see situations where a donor has been approached either by the wrong person, at the wrong time, for the wrong reason or in the wrong format. This can be very frustrating for the donor as well as the charity.
Looking at this from the donor’s perspective, what can you do to minimize unwanted, unsolicited proposals that may not even fit with your philanthropic goals?
Here are “Six Rights for Donors” in order to focus philanthropic requests for your support.
It is Right to:
• Be very clear on your philanthropic giving. If you focus on one or two areas, it is easier to identify which projects best suit your interests while reducing unsolicited requests.
• Communicate your areas of interest. If you let people know your philanthropic interests it will be easier for charities to understand if their projects are in line with your goals. It can be as simple as a one line statement such as “The Smith Foundation focuses on support to at risk youth and homeless mothers”.
• Know something about the charities that have asked to meet with you. At the very least, make sure they are a qualified donee with the Canada Revenue Agency and that you have some idea of their mandate and activities.
• Ask for a written proposal before you agree to meet. Ask the charity to define in writing what it is they are proposing to do and why they need your support. This will help you determine if indeed you wish to meet with the organization.
• Make a few calls to other potential funders. See if others you know have been approached and what they know of the project or the organization if unknown to you.
• Say no to a meeting request. Do not be bullied into meeting with a group because your old friend suggested they call you. If it fits with what you wish to do philanthropically, then go right ahead, but if it is just another request for support that is far from your own interests you have a right to just say “no”.
Follow these simple steps and you will reduce the number of unwanted meetings and unsolicited requests for your support.
Need help dealing with difficult charities? We can help: email@example.com