What qualities are essential in the person who makes the Ask?

Most, if not all of us, are in the business of asking for something every day. That’s why we’re determined to identify the best way to go about persuading one another. This topic has been widely developed within each sector, yet author Laura Fredricks has built a bridge across all sectors by explaining the Ask using universal principles, making it easy, enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding.

In her second edition of The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project or Business Venture, Fredricks not only addresses how to ask for support for a nonprofit, but also her advice extends well into the for-profit arena, offering guidance for those who are soliciting investments in business ventures or creative projects. Her book details how to make the most effective Ask in philanthropy, business and everyday life.

This week, we’re focusing on the qualities of the perfect asker. Laura Fredricks explains the higher Ask amounts require a higher leader to do the asking. If the Ask amount is high, the CEO or a board member would be an ideal asker. After you’ve enlisted the CEO and/or board member’s time, consider the ideal characteristics of these people:

An ideal asker:

  1. is known, liked, admired and respected by the person being asked
  2. has played a major role in the cultivation
  3. is comfortable, relaxed and confident with the Ask
  4. has given at the same level that is being asked
  5. has given at a level in relation to his abilities that is comparable to the level being asked of the person in relation to her abilities
  6. has demonstrated a strong commitment to the organization and is fully knowledgeable about the organization
  7. knows the details of the gift opportunity and can clearly articulate the need for support
  8. has the time (or has set aside time in the calendar) to prepare for the Ask, do the Ask, and carry out the necessary follow-up (three times the amount of time necessary for the preparation and the actual Ask) to the Ask
  9. has kept everyone involved with the fundraising process fully informed on the details of the Ask and the follow-through
  10. has fun doing an Ask and can feel the rewards of asking for money for the organization.

“When you ask for money you are not taking something away; you are giving someone the opportunity to feel good,” says Fredricks. How do we create those good feelings? Fredricks says that we treat every donor as a mini campaign. Devote special and individualized attention to every person.

See also:

A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members

Fundraising and the Next Generation

Fundraising the SMART Way

Image credits: pewresearch.org, blogs.pugetsound.edu

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