Buying Facilitation® for Fundraising: it’s much easier than sales

I know of a few local groups raising money for the Haitian earthquake victims. While I’m pleased they are doing this much-needed service, I wish I could help them influence folks to give more, differentiate themselves from other equally worthy fund raisers, and figure out how to help people who don’t often donate funds decide to give at all. Indeed, I have a special offer at the end of this post for just such groups. But I digress.

As I’ve said so many times, the sales model will not help this happen: the selling/fund raising model used by organizations dependent on raising funds will only find those folks who are already prone to donating and in the same approximate amounts as they have done historically.

What about those untapped people who rationalize why they don’t need to donate? Those hapless folks who think that because they pay taxes, or because they donate to the Salvation Army during Christmas they are spiritually ‘covered.’ How do we help these folks decide to donate? Or help those folks who traditionally donate, say, $1000, that it’s necessary (and certainly possible), to donate more?

The facts of why they should donate won’t help them change their behaviors. Indeed, the only way we’ve had of asking people for money (or trying to influence a donation) is to offer rational, information-filled, guilt-producing, or educational data as to why a particular cause is worth their money. We see this all the time when political parties attempt to raise funds.

The assumption here (like in all sales pitches) is that the right information offered in the right way to the right demographic will teach folks how to make a new decision, and how to change their regular behaviors and do something different.

The same success and failure rate apply to this endeaver: the same % of people will donate, regardless of the efficacy of the cause (disasters garnering slightly more), just like the same % of prospects will buy, regardless of the efficacy of the solution or magnitude of the need. As I say in my books, this is because sales manages the solution/need end of the buying decision and does nothing whatsoever to address the internal, off-line, behind-the-scenes, unconscious issues that must be faced before people do anything different. So offering cogent information is wasted because it’s pushing against a ‘closed’ system that already has criteria around how to spend or choose or donate.


When people donate, they must give away ‘extra’ money they hadn’t budgeted. That means, they can’t, say, take a trip, or pay a bill.  If they had already budgeted a certain amount for donating to disaster funds, or to favorite charities, they must decide which disaster, or which charity. Unfortunately, reading about or understanding why one disaster or charity is more important or worthy than another doesn’t necessarily provide grounds for shelling out money.

What does? Who knows. I don’t know. You don’t know. And all of the books on decision making won’t help. The person who knows is the person who must write the check. What is this person’s criteria for choosing? And how will they choose one cause over another?

Before anyone will donate, they must figure out how they will choose one charity over another, how they will know how to trust one foundation over another, how to choose one area of donation (i.e. children, the earth), how they will decide the amount they want to give, how their partner or spouse feels about the donation and if it’s acceptable — and who knows what else. But it’s never about the cause itself.

We never make decisions to do anything that goes outside of our internal, often (unfortunately) unconscious criteria of values, beliefs, and historic relationships that have worked well for us. And sales never addresses this.

Use Buying Facilitation™ as a decision facilitation tool to help people decide why, when, how, and if to give money to you. Then you can offer all of the data they need (in the format they need it in) as it will then, and only then, have value. Just like you don’t need information about a gym until you decide you’re going to work out, lose weight, get fit, so buyers don’t need to know details until they have decided to change their historic behaviors.

The information you offer will NOT cause them to change their beliefs, any more than knowing the gym has a special deal for Christmas will not cause you to go to the gym – unless you had already decided that cost was your ONLY criteria.

As a way to offer what I can to help the Haitian crisis, I would like to offer some Buying Facilitation™ tips to any groups who want to raise money in their fundraising efforts for Haiti.  I look forward to hearing from those of you who need me.


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