When I ask someone for a donation and he clearly says no, shall I still try to persuade him? (1/2013)

We fundraisers made the experience several times. One spends lots of time finding the perfect giver – in interest and financial potential -, evaluates which projects best suits our candidate and prepares meticulously the meeting or presentation. And down the road of all these efforts our candidate says no. Most of us will try to persuade our candidate nevertheless. We lower our sum requested, qualify objections, talk about great ideas that won’t be realized. Such behaviour is plausible. Arguments in favor are that such staying on the ball time and again leads to success. And at the end of the day we are talking about essential help, a valuable project which would not come into existence otherwise.

The nerves of our potential donor might speak another language. Nobody wants to be molested. And in persuading you easily cross the line of annoyance.

Another argument against subsequent persuasion is its proximity to begging. We fundraisers don’t want to be associated with begging. If I don’t stop asking after a no of the donor, I am not interested in the donor anymore, but only in my project which I aspire to realize.

Fundraising does not mean to want something from a donor. It means to offer him something. Opportunities of participation and impact, he would not have without us. An attractive offer includes a project with high impact and a clear message, a mission and story that deliver the themes of the donor and a trustworthy staff that regards him as a partner.

I think we should not try to persuade a donor after he said no. He is my customer. He is king. Not us.