10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask–Part II | npENGAGE

10 Guiding Principles for Any Ask–Part II

By on Nov 5, 2010


In Part I of this blog, I shared the first three of “The 10 Guiding Principles For Any Ask.”  from Laura Fredricks’ book, “The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for any Purpose.”  Here are three more to consider.

  1. Ask for a specific amount for a specific purpose.
  2. At the initial ask, stay committed to the ask amount.
  3. Consistent givers can and will make larger gifts.

While Laura’s principles seem simple they are not always easy to follow.  As you read these lines, did you feel confident that you have already incorporated them into your own cultivation and solicitation routine?  Conversely, did you experience discomfort, realizing that you might allow your personal feelings to get in the way of successful gift solicitation strategies?  If you were uncomfortable ask yourself the following questions:

“Do my personal perceptions about money get in the way of asking prospects for specific gift amounts? If yes, why is that so?”

“If no gift amount is asked for, how will the prospect know what gift level is needed to carry out the project’s objectives or to fund our annual budget?”

“Would I be more successful as an advocate for my organization if I asked for a specific amount and then allowed the prospect to answer my request before I offered any other suggestions?” Supplemental:  “Why do I feel as if I need to allow the prospect an ‘out’?”

“Have I taken time to review the results of successful solicitation efforts so that I can see for myself that loyal donors can and will make larger gifts? If I have not, when will I do this so that I can feel more confident in my solicitations?”

Taking time to understand why you may let your personal feelings guide your cultivation and solicitation efforts is key to moving beyond them and becoming a more professional representative of your organization.  It’s from our challenges that we grow most; and from those challenges that we succeed.

In a future posting, I’ll share Laura’s principle related to the role of planned gifts and discuss how her simple statement could mean significantly increased revenue for your nonprofit.


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)

  • Malavika Shrikhande says:

    Thanks for the post Katherine!

    I almost followed the same points you mention to solicit donations from local businesses for our libraries summer reading program. I was specific in my request and followed it up with a written thank you note and after the reading program was over, sent written notes to all on the success of the program (with statistical data on participation, books read, popular books etc.) and the beneficiaries’ name to the gift the business had contributed.

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