Not long ago, one of my friends was planning a wedding. She shared every detail when we would get together. She told me about the engagement photos, and we talked about which invitations best captured the spirit. I learned about the venue, the caterer, the cake and the groom’s cake, the bridesmaids’ dresses. She shared all the details.
And then, of course, she invited me. She told me the date, asked me to save it on my calendar, and sent the carefully-chosen invitation in the mail.
It’s not so different from fundraising.
As a fundraiser, you often share with donors the details of the problem you’re solving and how the people you serve are impacted. You may explain how the economy has changed things, or how a new government restriction has changed the landscape of the issue. You probably share all the details of your programs, your new initiatives, the plans you are making, and what you expect the impact to be. You likely share year-over-year results, tell stories, and share pictures.
Then what do you do? Do you ask for a gift?
If you’re like most fundraisers, you may get nervous, feel unsure of how to ask, or assume the story is compelling enough that you don’t need to ask. When you are passionate about something and spend much of your time thinking about, it can be easy to assume others do, too. While they may also share the interest or passion, they don’t know what you know. Be patient to explain the work, tell stories that illustrate your work well, and then invite them to take the next step.
Here’s the thing: if you tell donors all about the great work you are doing, but don’t ask them to invest, it’s like telling them all about a wedding you’re planning and then not inviting them to attend.
Just as Henry Blackaby says in his book Experiencing God, donors are asking where God is at work. They want to join him where he is doing good work.
Invite them to join you. Invite them to be a part of the work God is doing through your nonprofit.
After all, the ask is really an invitation.
How To: Ask for the Gift
Be prepared to make the ask.
This one-page checklist can help you make sure you’re ready, from running practice rounds to fielding donors’ objections or uncertainty.See The Guide