Chamber Enhancement Group
Association Development Solutions
The Art and Science of Asking for Money, and
G et t i n g i t !
“Chamber & Association Success through Leadership and
By Randy E. King Pres/CEO
GETTING MONEY IS
EASY, JUST ASK! AND
BRING LOTS OF ROI..
The most difficult job CEO’s of Chambers, Associations and Non-
profits have, is to ask for money! The other difficulties CEO’s have is: “How
do we do a better job of asking for and raising more money?” After twenty –
three years the ‘song remains the same’.
I first entered the world of raising money with a large non-profit at
twenty-five years of age. It was the best training anyone could have. It was
always how, “Much money are you going to bring us?” Tom Donahue the
current president of the US Chamber of Commerce, would always start our
conversations with, “How’s the money?” Today that training has served me
well. Peter Drucker once said, “Business should study successful Non-
As President and CEO of several performance Enhancement
Companies, I teach the Chamber of Commerce/Association and Non-profit
world how to do a better job of raising money. If you master this area all your
programs and projects get completed; and that leads to more money. In
membership organizations if you have the members you can get the money,
and if you have the money you can develop programs that will bring in the
members. When I lecture and consult around the country I am amazed how
the money challenge always comes up. ..The money will always be there for
the ones that can get it.
YOU MUST FIRST BELIEVE
IN WHAT YOU DO AND KNOW
WHAT YOU DO
You first have to believe in what it is that you are asking for. To start
with, the biggest question that I ask is, ‘what is the Organizational Value
(OV) to the person that you asking the investment or money from.’ The value
must be on the same level, if not more than the dollar amount you are
asking for Always remember a rule that I have taught for years and truly
believe myself. “Chase the mission and the dollars will come.”In other
words, constantly talk about what the organization can do for them!
Constant high value proposition statements.
- Prepare; Make a contribution yourself so you know what it feels like
(good!), so you understand the psychology of giving, and so that you have
more credibility when asking. Practice your presentation to make yourself
more comfortable. If it’s not someone you already know well, do a little
research (or ask staff to) to get a sense of the potential donor’s giving ability
Make sure staff knows who you intend to ask, so we don’t overwhelm any one
donor with multiple requests, or ask someone who just gave. Set goals for you
and your Chamber or Association, and set aside time to do this.
-Ask; in person, if possible. Bring materials, such as brochures, flyers,
newspaper clippings about your Chamber or Association etc.
-Relax; establish rapport with your “prospect”—a person you think might
gave your Chamber of Commerce or Association money. Talk about common
interests and ask what the prospect knows about why you are doing this
- Make; sure they know the basics. Mention your Chamber or Association’s
name and your Chamber or Associations’ name many times. If you use an
acronym, say it and the full name.
Understanding why people
give and businesses give is a key
to understanding the “show me
In an article by Charles Bartling CAE, The Psychology of asking and
Giving, points out 13 points of understanding:
1. People give because they feel they have an obligation to pay back
their profession, their community, their school, or society in general
2. Much of philanthropy is in the genes of the giver.
3. Corporate giving is different than individual giving.
4. The quality of the organization's management is a significant factor
in making the gift decision
5. The solution is a more powerful motivator than the need.
6. Fund-raising is really friend-raising.
7. The attitude of the ask will result in the quantity of the gift.
8. Maintain optimism in your approach, but reinforce the good that will
come from the gift.
9. You can never embarrass a potential donor by asking for too much.
You can only embarrass him or her by asking for too little.
10. When asking for money, it's as important to listen as it is to talk.
11. Find a champion to set the bar.
12. Say "thank you" again and again.
13. The most important motivator of them all is . . . The final and perhaps
the most important lesson… There is perhaps nothing as satisfying
to an individual as knowing that he or she made a difference in
someone else's life.
PLACING A MONENTARY
VALUE ON WHAT YOU DO
I am asked many times how do we place a value (Price) on what it is that
we are asking for.
When the Price isn’t Right….Andrew Lang
1. While the association's goal is to fulfill its mission and serve its
members, to do this well in the long run requires that we avoid under
pricing and that we make profits where we can.
2. It is always best to set prices after some input is given by those outside
of the department responsible for creating the product.
3. It is essential to know the full cost of a product before you begin to set
a price for it.
4. Never price a product without knowing what the market is paying for
5. The more important the potential revenue stream, the more thorough
the testing of potential pricing should be.
6. Be sensitive to buyers' perceptions of the price you are considering. To
what extent can you raise it without changing that perception?
7. Work to identify all your premium products and be sure to price them
8. Nonmember prices should always encourage non-members to become
9. Think in terms of the actual dollar value to the purchaser when setting
or revising discounts.
10. It is important to review your pricing annually. If a product has strong
demand, raise the price. If a product is selling poorly, consider
11. Remember not to "jar" your marketplace when raising prices or
reducing discounts. Move in steps when necessary.
Relevancy Test-I Q /E Q
Chambers / Associations,, Non-Profits
Chambers / Associations Non-Profits
Profits Peak Performance
Effort (x) Customer
Contact = ? %
O. V . C/M&M
1 to 10 1 to 10
The Relevancy test, diagram (I) is truly the foundation of the ability
to ask for money effectively.
O.V. - Organizational Value C. - Communication
M. - Message
M. - Messenger
THE POINTS TO IMPORTANCE
Before anything else will work we first have to establish a few points of
importance. I was at a major Association conference as one of the guest
speakers. My first test question that I love to place in my audiences’ hands is:
If we had 4 hours to give our entire story as to why they should join; or give;
or sponsor; to 100 non-members/decision makers, or someone that has never
heard of what we are doing, how many of those 100 would say YES; “Here is
You would be amazed at the answers. One CEO said; “Probably less
than 20%”. This is where the problems are. Give me those same 100 and I
promise you that I would capture over 70% of the money!
Here is how the above test works (diagram (I): The O.V.
(Organizational Value), it’s a simple rule; strong O.V. will equal strong dues
and non-dues revenue.
So you have to look down deep and ask the big question, on a scale of 1
to 10, how much value do we bring the end user?(our business community) If
we are asking for money on a certain project, does this project tie into the
persons ‘yes’ side of their brain?
HAVE CLARITY AS TO WHAT
YOUR VALUE IS TO YOUR
I have run into many Chamber CEO’s that have a hard time
understanding what their value is to the business community. When I run
into this, I have a “Discovering the Value in My Organization Workshop”.
Line by line we outline the items their organization has to offer its customers
(members in this case). After the so called ‘audit’, we then place a value
(direct or indirect), on each item. At all times, the R.O.I. ratio should be as
high as 10 to 1. In other words for every dollar the business or person gives,
their return benefit should be ten- fold. In one of my educational CD’s, “Join –
Stay & Pay, I go into detail about this.
In the present time and for a very long time to come, (for that matter
this has not changed) businesses are demanding more R.O.I. for their
chamber bucks! Being able to clearly articulate and demonstrate the value
of their local chamber membership and sponsorship programs will be the
survival of your Chamber of Commerce.
I truly believe that if your chamber conducted a 4 hour non-member
orientation on what the value of their membership would bring to their
business and the overall community, 70% to 80% would join.
That is the good news! Here is the bad news: You don’t have 4 hours to
conduct the orientation. You rely on referrals, volunteers, a sales force and
your reputation as a chamber (Your branding), having clarity on what it is
you do and the “call to action” is very important when it comes to bringing in
members, and retaining the ones that you have.
MAKE SURE YOUR MESSAGE AND
MESSENGER ARE CLEAR AND CONSISE
WITH PASSION AND CONVICTION!
Your story had better be crisp and concise. Your chamber marketing
pieces that you are showing your member/potential member had better
clearly shout: WOW I need to join and stay with this organization! You must
have a good story!
Who is telling the story and what is being heard and interpreted
within that message? Is it congruent with the chambers message? Does it
clearly show that the value of membership overrides the dues that you are
asking them to invest? Yes, they are investing because they know you will do
the right thing with their money. Always remember, it is about the upfront
experience that the business owner has with your chamber.
After twenty-three years of selling memberships and advertising
programs to members and non-members, the questions still remains the
same: What have you done for me lately? And what are you going to do for me
now? The member and potential member has to hear and see what is taking
place within THEIR local chamber.
Running your chamber like a business demands; overcoming
objections; bringing strong product value to your potential client base; and
most importantly, constantly being on the cutting edge of market and product
development. Last, but not least, getting your message out to the market
place, and letting you community know and understand what it is that you
sell and why they should buy. YES, you do sell a product! And part of it is
your Passion and a belief structure! Make sure the two are STRONGLY
BUT……DON’T BE AFRAID TO FLEX
You cannot be afraid to “Flex Your Muscles” to the business
community and show your VALUE to your members and potential members!
Business owners are looking for a trusted solution to their business
challenges and you are it!
When the US Chamber of Commerce went from $75 million to
developing a capital campaign and raising $200 million, they accomplished
this with a new leader, Tom Donahue was not afraid to tell his potential
market place and current customers: “We are worth the money and here is
why”, every chance he got, He “Flexed His Muscles”, and the business
community stepped up to the plate and gave him what he was after,
Members and Money! This is the survival of your chamber/Association.
How did Tom Donahue do this: VP’s were required to go out and get
the money and ask for big money. The US chamber’s capital campaign
was and is a huge success. With over $250 million budget today, Tom was
able to push the Value, create more value and communicate the value to
the World. Once again the O.V. will bring in the money.
KNOW THE COMPELLING REASONS
TO MAKE IT EASY TO SAY YES!
Clarity in what you do with compelling reasons to say “YES” is do or die.
Know the Message! Understanding what, why and how much is key.
My last 2 years with the US Chamber I was national Senior Project
Leader of the Major Metro Project. I would go out from time to time with a
team of 3 and ask for large membership dues. We knew exactly what we
needed and why we needed it. Very clear and to the point. And the prospect
on the other end of the boardroom table understood the need!
Understanding Communication and Conversation
3 parts of communication (by the work of Aristotle)
1. Ethos – character/credibility of the person.
2. Pathos – connecting with the emotions – we tune into them and
3. Logos – factual content
3 elements of conversation
1. Words = 7% they remember the way your said it!
2. Tone of voice = 38%
3. Body language = 57%
THE MESSENGER - THE MOST
Now, for some words about the ‘Messenger. You could have great O.V.
and unbelievable C (communication) and M (message), but if the Messenger
does not communicate well, you will have problems. Tom Donahue’s success
is all wrapped up in a great system: Great Organizational Value – Great
Communication to the business community – Fantastic Message - and the
last key ingredient, GREAT MESSENGER!
I have always said, ‘communication rules the world’ and raises
money. ‘The truth will set you free’ take a look at these areas and use the
Test up top and rank yourself in all areas of your Organizations.
COMMUNICATING FOR PROFIT!
The 7 Fundamentals of a Perfect Presentation
1. Body Language/Energy Level/Transference of Feeling
3. Third Party
4. Gain Control
5. Create Need
6. Build Value
7. Assume the Sale
The tools that must be included in your script in order to give a
Perfect presentations are:
* Initial Benefit Statement (IBS)
* Show and Tell (if in person)
* Reason Why
* Gain Control
* Create Urgency
In my research in the field and on the phone, here are some of the biggest
mistakes that I see when asking for the MONEY!
They don’t ask
They under ask for the MONEY
They don’t understand the 3 communication and 3 conversation rules
as I discussed earlier.
They don’t ask thought provoking questions.
They forget it’s about them, not you.
They do not have a flexible Money option (game plan).
You have to TRAIN the messengers.
They don’t do the homework on the potential money giver.
Rejection – Rejection – Rejection! Remember, money is not a rejection,
it is a condition.
GOLDEN RULE: AS LONG AS THERE IS AN
AGREEMENT IN CONCEPT, YOU HAVE
PERMISSION TO MOVE FORWARD WITH
*Talk about what you have accomplished this year and what you plan on
• Listen find out why they do or should care about what you do.
• Tell them why you are involved in the project, and why you are investing
your time in the project. Share your passion—it’s infectious. Name all the
reasons, but focus on the ones you think your prospect values. If you aren’t
• Tell the truth. Don’t promise more than you can deliver.
• Focus on the cause, and what you can accomplish.
• Tell a success story.
OBJECTIONS, LEARN TO LOVE
If they have questions or objections, use it as an opportunity to clear
up any misconceptions. If you don’t know or don’t have an answer, don’t make
things up, but promise to get back to them later. Numbers oriented people
may be interested in your financial picture. Be prepared to talk about your
budget, where your money has come from in the past (individual donations
etc), and who has sponsored or joined to date. People like to get involved with
a program that is new, or has momentum, and is likely to succeed.
GET THE COMMITMENT NOW! WHY
Ask for their pledge of financial commitment. Once you’ve presented
your case and dealt with any objections, it is then time to get a commitment.
Don’t be apologetic; if you don’t ask for Dues/ sponsorship
contributions, most people will not give them. Explain why a new donation
(or an increase) is needed. State and Federal cutbacks, economy is
challenging—turns such losses into issues to be solved instead of failures of
your Chamber or Association. DON’T PLEAD FOR A “BAIL OUT.”
Ask for a specific amount that is high but not outrageous. It’s easier to
bargain down than up. Also, according to United Way, “studies have shows
that solicitors, who ask for more, get more.”
After you ask for the money, say nothing more. Smile, Relax. It’s better
to let the silence make them a little uncomfortable than jump in with an
excuse that gets them off the hook, or distracts them from their answer. They
have the right to say no. You have the right to ask.
When you have secured their financial investment/commitment or
better yet, their check, thank the person for the important role he or she is
playing in meeting the needs of your Chamber or Association and their
If they pledge “support” but are not specific, ask for a dollar amount. If
it is a large amount, ask if they would prefer you to send them an invoice, or
pick the check up personally?
Thank them again. I recommend that people who give donations should be
thanked seven times for each gift/donation. Send an official thank-you for
their tax records. Send them updates periodically. If you have a newsletter,
be sure they receive it, and that you acknowledge their financial involvement
in the newsletter.
When you are ready to ask again, you will want to say thanks again
for their last financial involvement, and would they consider giving a larger
If they say no, thank them for letting you present them your case. Ask why, if
it’s not too awkward. Maybe they’d like to be involved in some other way –
donate time, or materials – or perhaps the timing is wrong this year, but
they’d be interested in the future if you approach them at a different time of
year etc. Don’t forget – Say THANK YOU!!
How to Ask for Money – building the foundation for the yes!
1. Repeat the name of your organization often.
2. Say your name, the name of your group and your position:
"Hello, my name is Joe Jones, Executive Director of the Organization
3. Describe your group's activities and its effectiveness (maximum
of five sentences): "The Organization provides training and technical
consulting services to nonprofit groups in the areas of leadership
development, empowerment, board development, and financial self-
sufficiency. Organization works with neighborhood groups, rural
organizations, churches, minority constituencies, seniors, and
organizations for the disabled.
4. Describe your budget: "It costs $900,000 to operate the Organization
for one year."
5. Describe your Financial funding Strategy: "The O receives 70% of
its funding budget from workshop and training fees, consultant
contracts from our constituencies, and earned income projects. We
receive 10% of our funds from state and federal sources
Asking for Money - the presentation
• Always ask for a specific amount of money.
• If the donation is tax-deductible, say so.
• Always ask for money for a specific part of your program.
• Ask for the dollar amount again.
• Try to break down your request into cause and effect terms: "Your
$100 contribution will enable us to mail our 300 newsletters."
• Smile - stop talking. Wait for a response.
• Answer questions briefly.
• Explain why you need the money NOW.
• Repeat steps 1-5 until they say yes.
Pick a friend or colleague to play a potential funder. Role-play steps 1-7 and
actually ask for money for a real project in your group. Switch off. You may
even exchange money during this role-play. Allow five minutes for each
Why are people afraid to ask for money?
Answer: They are not trained properly
A t A L L le v e ls
The 3 components that drive the money process are summed up within the
above diagram. Leadership and your people are the foundation for your
Chamber of Commerce and Associations success!
Organizational Success starts with staff Development. At ALL Levels!
Here is diagram (III). I often use this when I lecture about; “POSITIONING
YOU ORGANIZATION TO ACHIEVING FINANCIAL GROWTH”.
The 3c’s Building Blocks of a GREAT Non-Profit
• Message to our customers Values
• Message of ROI Leadership, at ALL levels
• Message to the community
• Message to potential customers
In order for us to GROW, we must
know! Is everyone on the same page? 2nd C