Are You Afraid to ‘Make the Fundraising Ask’?

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Are You Afraid to ‘Make the Fundraising Ask’?


Many fundraisers are, but it’s a fear worth overcoming

Everyone loves a juicy urban legend, right? Here’s one that, like most, may or may not be true. But it makes its point.

It was a fundraising conference in New York. Or was it New Zealand? In the early aughts. Or was it the late ‘90s? Or was it 1987?

No matter. Apparently, the session leader asked the participants in his session to make a fundraising ask, to each turn to the person on their left and ask for a gift to their organization.

Most of the audience thought it was a joke and opted to examine their shoes and giggle nervously rather than “make the ask.” Of those who did ask, about 30 percent got a positive response. Who was laughing then? Even if that gift was $5… hey, every penny counts. And those who didn’t ask, naturally, didn’t receive.

It was just a seemingly silly little experiment that may or may not have even happened (but you’re sure to find someone somewhere who will swear they were there when it did — like everyone knows someone once, twice or thrice removed who found a spider in their straw just as they were about to take that first, ill-fated sip).

But true or not, it proves a point: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  And it really is all about the fundraising ask, isn’t it? You’re fundraisers, after all.

But many fundraisers aren’t all that keen on, well, fundraising. And if you’re one of them, fundraising professionals, best figure out how to get over it or help your board members or other development officers get over it.

Because you (or your board or your major gifts officers, whoever) can primp and prime and grease the wheels all you want, but if no one makes the fundraising ask to raise funds, it’s all in vain.


All the best,

- Your friends at CharityHowTo


P.S. Don’t forget to keep learning. Want to find out more about making an in-person ask? Check this out. It’s free.

Topics: Fundraising, best fundraising, psychology of fundraising, fundraising for nonprofits