We believe in our work so we think others should also believe in it. But maybe we haven’t given our time to help them to really understand it. Often we haven’t tried to understand why they aren’t being as generous as we expected. We have to remember that there is no such thing as free money. They worked hard for their money, and they want us to prove that we deserve it. We may not think their conditions are reasonable, but we can always choose. Do we want this person to be our donor or not? If we do, how can we make this happen?

Youth Worker, Nigeria

There are some people we would give to in a heartbeat and others who we just don’t trust. And then there are some people we were thinking of helping, but somehow they just didn’t convince us that they would be able to achieve what they thought they would: their mission was good, but we weren’t convinced they would succeed. We want to present ourselves and our organisations to our potential donors and funders in a way that leaves them believing in us, and thinking that they have gained by giving to us.

Three donors

These three donors are based on our real experience. Read their stories and reflect on the questions:

Marie went to school with Chidi’s elder sister, and they are still good friends. She met her husband whilst studying medicine, and they are now both successful doctors with a private clinic.  Last year they set up a foundation to help young people from poor families to improve their circumstances. The foundation will give $20,000 USD yearly in grants to education projects and scholarships.  Chidi wants to build a permanent building for her cooking club which will cost $100,000. She asked her sister to give Marie the architect’s plan, and Marie gave Chidi $50, less than the cost of the dinner she had with her sister.

Ibrahim grew up in the area where Chidi’s cooking club operates and currently lives in New York with his American wife. He is very generous and, whilst not wealthy, has supported the education of many young people where he grew up. He has heard about the cooking club from a friend in London and is interested. The friend suggested they visit the cooking club when they are both home for Eid and Ibrahim agreed.

Oscar’s aunt Matilda died recently. In her youth, she worked as a teacher in your region and saved all her life so that she could leave money $100,000  in her will for women and girls’ nutrition projects. Oscar has found out about the cooking club and a number of other projects on the internet, but he has never visited the country and doesn’t know anything about the local reality.

Reflection Questions

  1. What do you know about each potential donor?
  2. Why do you think they might be interested in giving you money?
  3. Why did Marie give you so little money? What would encourage her to give more?
  4. How will you respond to this opportunity when Ibrahim asks to visit your project?
  5. How will you convince Oscar to choose your organisation?

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