I’m a big fan of non-profits. My first job ever was at the YMCA where I stayed for 6 years through high school and college. And like most people with a heart, I’m a big fan of giving to non-profits who are doing things I care about.

Non-Profits walk an interesting line. They have to ASK for money, without a direct sales transaction. There might be a Thank You gift, but it’s not proportional to the give. The give is about supporting the Nonprofit, not about buying something. That’s where it gets tricky. Asking can become repetitive and givers can become exhausted. And an ask can look sleezy and annoying really fast, if you aren’t careful about how you ask. Here are some tips.

1) Be Clear about your need. The average person watching your nonprofit from the outside doesn’t know all those you have to turn away. They don’t see how many more COULD be helped. They don’t see the negatives, in a social media world of all positives. Be clear in communicating how many more need your help and how much that costs.

2) Be Thorough about your work. Givers like to know just exactly how there money will be spent. All the way to last penny to pay the electrical bill is a bit too specific, but be as thorough as you can. Explain how that $100 donation will leave a lasting impact. Explain who and how you can help with that donation.

3) Be Quick to say Thanks. I think this should go without saying… but it’s so often overlooked. Someone gave you cash and received nothing, or very little, in return. Yes, you are helping to save the world. Yes, they know that money is going to help you do that… but they still deserve a thanks. They chose you to receive their hard-earned cash. They decided you were worth keeping open. Make sure they hear your gratitude in a way that’s as personal as you can make it. Set aside one person or even a team to ensure they get a Thanks.

Bonus) Give a little something. People like to belong. And they give because they already feel a part of you. A little gift, such as the classic PBS tote bag, nurtures that sense of belonging and encourages your givers to stay loyal to you. Remind them they are part of you. And that they can’t do it without you!