As much as anything we emphasize role-playing the ask as an essential part of our fundraising training. Why are so many passionate non-profit board members and volunteers scared of asking for a gift? Typically, it’s just because they’re afraid of the unknown. Too many haven’t experienced an ask themselves. They might’ve experienced the more passive act of merely receiving a gift from a donor, but that is very different than purposely soliciting a gift. When we actively solicit a gift, there’s much more of an opportunity to influence the amount, timing and purpose. During our recent Happy Learning Hour (co-sponsored by MassMutual South Texas and advisor Fred Steubing), we highlighted illustrative ask scenarios for a variety of non-profits. Leaders representing Big Brothers Big Sisters, Impact San Antonio and the School of Dentistry-UT Health San Antonio provided abbreviated versions of their solicitations. In each instance, I played the role of the prospective donor and provided common points of pushback or resistance. As a learning community, we thought through possible responses, reinforcing my basic premise: The answers are almost always in the room. A winning solicitation strategy isn’t complicated. After sufficient cultivation, request a face-to-face meeting, succinctly present your case for support, and request a specific amount for a specific purpose. Then remain absolutely silent and let the donor respond. I’m a strong advocate of making the ask pretty early in the meeting to allow enough time to respond to questions and concerns. And like anything else important that you do, you need to prepare, and this means rehearsing the ask.
Hartman: Don't Be Afraid To Dream Big
The Billion Dollar Club
Unsung Heroes: Jasmin Dean
Meeting with Global Leaders
Political vs. Charitable Fundraising
Dominating the Airwaves
On the Bookshelf: The Long Game
Quiz : POTUS and Favorite Foods
Stratagems is published monthly by Jim Eskin, Founder of Eskin Fundraising Training, LLC. We offer workshops and customized training sessions for board members, staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations of all kinds and sizes. For details about our services and information, or to find out how to schedule a training session for your organization, visit our website. Follow our events on Facebook, and read more articles about philanthropy on our LinkedIn page.
Jim Eskin, Founder
Eskin Fundraising Training
ANSWERS TO THIS MONTH’S QUIZ: 1=d, 2=c, 3=e, 4=b, 5=a