10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask | npENGAGE

10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask

By on Oct 29, 2010


I recently ran across a review of Laura Fredricks’ book, “The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for any Purpose,” which was published a few years ago.  Within, Laura presents “The 10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask.”  As I read the list, I was struck by how pertinent and timely this reading was and I wanted to share her thoughts.

Laura’s first three principles match my own and I can’t imagine interacting with donors in any other way.  Read these and reflect on your own cultivation style.

  1. The more personal and sincere you are with the people you are cultivating, the quicker you will be able to make the ask.
  2. Every prospect must be treated separately and distinctly.
  3. Anyone asking for a gift must first make his or her own gift.

As you read this list, ask yourself:

“Am I sincere with my communications? Is that sincerity reflected in my words, my passion for the organization and its mission?”

“Have I asked enough questions to understand this particular prospect’s point of view and involvement with the organization? Have I provided or will I take the time to collect and provide the most meaningful information or interaction for this person?”

“Have I supported the organization or project at the highest level to which I am able?  Or, am I expecting others to be involved even when I have not made my own commitment?”

In my opinion, these simple things bring me to a place where I can share my excitement, share my passion and share my involvement with others.  With that already in place, why wouldn’t others want to join me?

In future postings, I’ll share the remainder of Laura’s list of principles and ask you to consider their importance in your own work.


Katherine Swank, JD, senior consultant at Target Analytics, a Blackbaud Company, helps nonprofits apply statistical analytics and donor research to their fundraising efforts with an emphasis on planned gifts. She has raised nearly $250 million for mission funding during her nonprofit development career. Katherine is a retired affiliate faculty member of Regis University’s master of Global Nonprofit Management degree program, where she taught courses on wealth and philanthropy.  Along with writing for publications like Advancing Philanthropy and Philanthropy Journal, she is also a frequent presenter for industry conferences such as NACGP, AFP, APRA, and bbcon. Having grown up in a tourist destination in Colorado, Katherine has become an avid world traveler and is exploring her way through the 1,000 places to see before you die, albeit slowly.  Connect with her on Twitter @KatherineSwank.

Comments (1)

  • Andrea Kihlstedt says:

    Thanks Katherine for calling attention to these essentials to keep in mind when getting ready to ask people for their commitment. It's amazing to watch solicitors fall in love with their organizations all over again when they make their own gifts and then find the courage to ask others.

    Andrea Kihlstedt
    Co-Founder, Asking Matters

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