What To Do When a Donor Says I Can’t Donate Right Now

Are you hearing this more often these days? Hopefully, you’re not, however, if you are then you need to be able to respond respectfully without insulting or minimizing the donor’s concerns. You also need to prepare yourself to continue past the disappointment of the not now response. Here’s how…

Let’s set the scene: You did all of your research and you found the perfect prospect for your organization. The meeting is scheduled and you’re ready to make the ask.

Mr. Jones shows up via Zoom and is happy to meet with you. After sharing the updates about your program and making an ask for $5,000, you get the response you didn’t want. “I don’t think I can make a gift right now.” What do you do?

You need to pause for a minute and try to understand why the donor is unable to contribute. Is it because his funds are tied up in other charities or business projects? Maybe the donor is going through a divorce or job change. The one thing you don’t want to do is just say “Okay, thanks” or “Would a pledge payment plan be better?”

Without getting too personal, you should ask some questions to continue the conversation. A few of these questions might include the following:

  1. Are there any questions about our work that I haven’t addressed or answered?
  2. Would you like to support something other than what we discussed?
  3. Can we connect again later this year to discuss your support?

Be sure to thank him for his time and stay in touch (with meaningful communication).

One thing to keep in mind is that “not right now” isn’t a no but a sign that you may be able to engage the prospective donor at a later time. Don’t give up so easily. With a lot of listening and a little bit of perseverance, you can be successful with the future ask.