Knowing WHEN to ask someone to make a gift is often the very thing that stops people in their tracks. The big secret that those who make direct asks often know is that the ask should simply be a part of a longer conversation.
It sounds trite, but it’s true: Only ask the people who you know want to say yes.
If you practice this, you will spend your time focused on getting to know people well enough that you will be absolutely clear about why they have a passion for your organization, and then it’s absolutely clear when to invite the gift.
Often during role play exercises in my Art of Asking workshop participants will say something like, “I don’t know how much to ask for.” Or, “I get so scared to ask someone for money.”
My reaction to both of those statements is: You are making the ask about YOU and not about the donor. When you focus on THEM, how they feel about your organization and why they are interested in your work AND you really invite engaged conversation about what moves & inspires THEM, you forget about the “big ask” and you’ll find yourself inviting participation or support of something you are now very clear they’ve expressed interest in.
It is important to ask for specific size gifts but you can much more easily do that when you know your audience.
Here’s a list of questions I share with people getting ready to invite a gift. It’s a short list that should be added to in order to really be effective in getting the donor ready to say yes. What would you add?
7 Critical questions to answer before asking for the gift: