Several years ago, the director of a non-profit I support invited me to come to have a cup of coffee. I was told the team wanted to share about some new programs and the progress the non-profit was making. The meeting was set up as if they were only going to share about their latest news. However, in the end, the reason for my visit was revealed and they started talking about my annual contribution. I was caught off guard and somewhat offended by the surprise solicitation for money and felt it would have been better if I had known it was coming.
I learned recently that I’m not alone with feeling this way. I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Lynette Zimmerman, president and CEO of Key Elements Group, LLC last week. Lynette consults with non-profits on strategic fundraising. She said what I experienced was unfortunately common mistakes people make when asking for support: asking too soon and not being straightforward about it.