How to Stand Out When Asking for Money

People are always asking for money. Not a day goes by that I am not bombarded with solicitations via email, postal mail, and social media. It would be financially unwise to give to everyone who asks, so how do you decide who gets a gift and who doesn’t?

During my undergraduate years, I spent an exciting summer studying in China. That experience ended up being the highlight of my college years. One thing I will never forget is giving money to young beggars on the street. I’m a city woman, so seeing a beggar isn’t anything new. What caught me is most of these children had missing limbs, scars and burn marks on their bodies. When I inquired about it, my professor told me, “Sheridan, these children have been poor their entire lives. When they were babies, their parents cut off their limbs, burned and cut them so that tourists like you would feel sorry and give them money.”

The back story broke me. It cut my heart to hear it.

What I told you is an example of how stories can move the hearts of people. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but it has to appeal to the heart. You can start by telling the stories of people you’re serving. Does your organization provide the only reliable meal that a child in poverty can count on? Tell it. Does your organization provide a safe haven for victims of domestic violence? Tell it. Use the story to bring your donors up close to your organization’s mission. Once you grab the heart, the wallet will open.