3 Ways to Ask Your Supporters for Help During COVID-19


by Andrea Kihlstedt

You may think that with everyone navigating a new reality, which often requires copious amounts of time at home, you shouldn’t ask people to help you with your capital campaign. Or for that matter, with your fundraising.

But you’d be dead wrong. People want to help each other – especially during a crisis. The desire to help is woven deeply into human nature.

And right now is a wonderful time to ask for help. What’s more, the more you do it and the better you get at it, the more successful you’re likely to be.

Why Now Is a Great Time to Ask for Help

Most obviously, it’s ALWAYS a good time to ask people for help. People like to help. It makes them feel useful and respected when you ask for their help! So it’s time to get over your hesitation. To paraphrase Amanda Palmer, stop worrying and let people help you!

Now is an especially good time to request help. A lot of people are stuck at home and many of them are feeling quite useless. By asking for help, you can make them useful! They’ve got time – probably too much time – on their hands.

Additionally, many people, particularly those who are older and aren’t wrangling kids, may be thinking a bit more deeply about the meaning of their lives.

Right Now, In-Person Help Doesn’t Fly

Obviously, you can’t ask for the kinds of help that brings people together physically.

  • No in-person group letter-signing or envelope-stuffing parties
  • No hosting cultivation events in their homes
  • No helping with programs on site

For now, those in-person gatherings are in the ditch. But you can, and should, ask people to help with other things.

3 Kinds of Help You Can Request from Supporters

Here are three ways you can ask your supporters for help. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so you may think of more. If so, please leave your suggestions in the comment section below.

First: Ask Supporters for Their Advice

You know that’s a standard trope in fundraising: “Ask for advice, and you’ll get money. Ask for money, and you’ll get advice.” So, YES. Ask for advice! Here are just a few of the things you might ask for advice about:

  • You can ask people to give you feedback on a written document.
  • You can ask for strategic suggestions about a decision you’re wrangling with.
  • Or you might ask someone to recommend someone or something you are looking for.

Keep in mind that sometimes people will give you poor advice, wacky advice or advice you simply don’t agree with. You can protect yourself a bit by letting people know that you are reaching out to a few people for advice. That way, you can report on your decisions in the context of a larger group rather than just one individual.

Of course, if you know the person usually gives sound advice, you won’t have to create a larger group, though you may wish to do so anyway. People enjoy knowing that they’ve been invited to be part of a small group.

Second: Ask Supporters to Participate

Speaking of small groups, you can ask people to serve on a task force or small committee that is called together to conduct some specifically defined piece of work.

In these times, of course, READ MORE…