Lean Stream

Pitch a Donor for a School Fundraiser

Fundraising for a school is not rocket science, but it is also not a walk in the park. 

Pitching a potential donor can be uncomfortable and intimidating. It happens even to the most charismatic people. After all, only a few donors are going to come to you. You will have to court them to win their support and contribution, which is not always a successful endeavor.

This is where your ability to pitch comes in handy and where many schools fail. 

So, how do you pitch a donor for a school fundraiser? Read on as we give you tips on how to write a successful pitch and ace your school’s fundraising drive.

Thank the Donor

We can’t stress this enough:

  • Always start your pitch by appreciating the donor. If you are approaching the donor for the first time, thank them for making time to meet you.
  • If they are a repeat donor, appreciate them for their continued support.
  • Mention how beneficial the partnership has been to your school.

Pro tip: If you pitch in person, slightly pause after expressing your gratitude so the donor can soak it in before proceeding. 

Tell Your Story

This might seem obvious, but this is what determines how successful your pitch is.

Storytelling makes your pitch memorable. Remember, the potential donor doesn’t necessarily know your situation.

Whether you pitch in person or through an email, make the story resonate with the donor. Keep in mind that you want to win them over. 

Make sure you practice your pitch several times. This might seem like common sense, but it is something many people overlook. You want to make your story natural. 

If the story is long, make it concise and invite the donor to your website or social media pages where they can read the entire story.

Explain your story and mission in a direct, simple, and non-technical way.

Understand the Donor

To win a donor over, you must appeal to their personal interests and personalities. You are supposed to have done thorough research on the donor before making your pitch. This way, you will know what triggers them.  

Some donors respond well to a warm, positive message in their email. An emotional story will touch some, while others like keeping things formal. Do your due diligence and tailor your approach accordingly. 

Pro tip: Don’t forget to mention to your donor how they stand to benefit by contributing to your cause (e.g., tax cuts, increased visibility, etc.). Many donors don’t simply give money out of their pure goodwill. It has to be mutually beneficial.

Be smart when appealing to their self-interests.

Mention the Importance of the Donation

Donors are human beings with an emotional side. Appeal to their emotions by letting them know how important it is that they contribute. Explain to them how things could go wrong if they don’t donate. This will create a sense of urgency and save you from constantly reminding them about the fundraiser. 

If they know what will happen if you don’t succeed in your fundraising drive, it will likely spur them into action.

Say something like: “If you want our grade 5 children to acquire much-needed iPads…” or “knowing your love for sports, I’m sure contributing towards equipping our soccer team’s gym is something important to you…” etc. 

Granted, their failure to contribute can lead to adverse outcomes, but as you can see from the examples, you can frame them positively while maintaining that sense of urgency.

In addition, be sure to mention a success story that was a result of past drives. Make the donor see and feel the impact of your mission. This will inspire them to want to be a part of another success story.

Be Positive

By now, the donor knows about your school mission, what you intend to achieve, and the impact of past endeavors. You are now closing your pitch and have to end it on a high. 

Let the donor know how far their contribution will make your school better. Show them the impact the donations will have on the students. 

Show them the possibilities of your partnership and what you could achieve together.

Ask for the Donation

Everything that you have been reading so far was to bring you to this final step: the big ask. 

If you are reaching out to a repeat donor, you can ask them for a specific amount. For example: “You can help us make this happen by donating $X.”

Use a range if it is a new donor and you are not sure how much you should ask for. 

Remember not to go too high or too low. Going too high may get an immediate ‘No,’ which can be devastating. Going too low can get you a ‘Yes,’ but what if the donor wanted to contribute more? 

Since you have studied your potential donor and know how much they have contributed to similar causes in the past (very important), you can tailor your ask along that range. 

Pro tip: Don’t utter another word once you’ve made your pitch. There may be some awkward silence, but you must give the donor time to respond. 

Be Outcome Independent

You need the donation, but remember to detach yourself [emotionally] from the response you will get. 

Not every pitch will be successful. You will probably get more negative responses than positives. 

Don’t let that weigh you down. 

Understand that donors have different priorities, and the fact that they don’t respond positively to your pitch doesn’t mean you can’t win them over in the future. In any case, it is impossible to predict when people will offer their support.

Remember It Is Not a One-off Thing

Your school will need donations in the future. Even if you get a No from the potential donor, you need to see that as the beginning of a relationship. The donor may not contribute this time, but they need to feel involved in your mission. 

They may be better positioned to contribute in the future and be part of your story. Keep cultivating the relationship, especially when you are not asking for funds. The donor needs to feel much more than a cash cow.

Final Word

Now that you’ve learned how to make a pitch, we hope you get the donations you need to fulfill your school’s mission. 

Don’t worry too much about it. 

Remember, people are naturally inclined to help. Follow the above tips that tap into human nature, and you will be on a successful journey towards raising money for your school.

LeanStream has a raft of fundraising solutions for your school. Please reach out if you feel we can be of help.