For anyone who hasn't asked for money since Girl Scout cookie drives, it can be intimidating. But if you can talk, you can fundraise.

1. Ask frequently, ask big (more than you think you can get), and ask specifically (focus on individuals and organizations that are more likely to care about your project because they have similar values or philanthropic priorities).

2. Avoid cold-pitching whenever possible. You can be more brilliant with your preparation and documentation when a potential donor is expecting you, even if he or she is having a bad day.

3. Protect donor privacy by asking their permission before sharing their information with anyone.

4. Spend 90 percent of your time on the 10 percent of your donors who have the potential to give 90 percent of the money.

5. Keep in mind that, although there's a lot of competition, around $300 billion of philanthropic money is now given away every year.

Next: Secrets of Public Speaking


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