Sunday, August 10, 2008

Donors... Romancing the ask

The importance of making the ask cannot be overemphasized, but “making” the ask might not be the best operative term.

At the recent Fund Raising Day in New York, sponsored by the New York chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Tom Gaffney, of Tom Gaffny Consulting suggested the concept of “romancing” the ask, a way to turn a simple request into a compelling story.

“People don’t give because you have needs – the give because you meet needs,” Gaffny said.

He added that any fundraiser must demonstrate that the organization doing the asking is clearly meeting certain needs. That kind of demonstrable accomplishment, letting a prospect know that a donation actually brings about a desired end, is the kind of approach that will encourage donors to give.

To do that, the organization must achieve the following: Be specific about what is at stake, tie in a specific dollar amount to an important action the organization will undertake and show the reader exactly how that amount will help someone, and then tell them again.

To achieve those objectives, Gaffny offered five ways to romance the ask:

  • Use odd gift amounts, such as $67, $14, etc.;
  • Focus on one amount;
  • Attach recognition to an amount;
  • Give the donor a “deal;”
  • The ultimate weapon – an irresistible offer.