By Alan Sharpe (March 2005) E-book $9.99
The professional fundraiser’s guide to mastering the art of making the ask.
n the fundraising profession, the act of requesting funds from a donor is called “the ask.” When you are writing a fundraising letter and you arrive at the place where you must actually, ahem, request a donation, you have arrived at the ask.
And the ask, as you probably know, is one of the toughest things to get right in fundraising. How should you ask for a specific amount? Where, exactly, in the letter should you introduce the subject of a donation? What are some creative ways of saying “send us a donation?” so that you do not repeat yourself? How should you ask for a donation when you are offering something in return? How can you communicate urgency without sounding shrill?
You will find answers to all of these questions and plenty more in 101 Compelling Ways to Ask for Donations with Your Fundraising Letters. This sixth Handbook in the Hands-On Fundraising Series, published by Andrew Spencer Publishing, is the professional fundraiser’s guide to mastering the art of making the ask.
Practical examples you can use today
PART 1 covers 52 asks for multiple types of needs:
- Capital Campaigns, page 3
- Endowments, page 3
- Lapsed Donor Recovery, page 4
- Matching Gifts, page 4
- Membership Acquisition and Renewal, page 5
- Personalization, page 6
- Premiums, Back-end, page 7
- Premiums, Front-end, page 7
- Soft Asks, page 8
- Upgrading Gifts, page 8
- Urgent Asks, page 9
- Year-End Appeals, page 10
PART 2 covers 49 asks for different types of organizations:
- Advocacy, page 11
- Animal Welfare, page 11
- Ecology & the Environmental, page 12
- Education, page 12
- Hospitals & Healthcare, page 13
- People with Disabilities, page 14
- Politics, page 15
- Relief & Development, page 15
- Religious, page 16
- Social Services, page 17
Get answers to the top-four most frequently asked questions about direct mail fundraising asks
- Where in the letter should I mention money?
- How much should I ask for?
- How many times in one letter should I request a donation?
- What’s the best way to actually ask for the gift?
Borrow from the experts . . .
- review asks that were used successfully by organizations like yours
- study the compelling phrases that professional fundraising writers use—and employ them today to increase the size and number of gifts you attract
- contrast the difference in tone between hard asks and soft asks, and then use the one that matches your donors and your organizational voice
- find a well-crafted ask that matches your need right now, whether it’s a year-end appeal, lapsed donor mailing, membership acquisition letter, emergency appeal or something else
- see for yourself how fundraising professionals tie donor-benefits in with their asks in a natural way to boost response
- discover the persuasive language that will motivate your donors to give—now
Some examples from the Handbook
Category: Capital campaign
Page number: Three
Ask number: 1 of 101
“Your gift will help us renovate a special floor of the hospital for the new cardiac defibrillator lab. If you can, please send us a gift today for $100 or more.”
Category: Premiums, Back-end
Page number: Seven
Ask number: 31 of 101
“These return address labels are our gift to you. May they speed up your mail, and remind you that the cure to cancer is closer than ever before, thanks to your financial support.”
Category: Year-End Appeals
Page number: Ten
Ask number: 51 of 101
“Each Christmas Hamper costs $25 to prepare and deliver. Our goal is to raise enough funds to give a hamper to 100 families this season. Can you help us this year? Your gift of $25 helps one family. Your check for $50 helps twice as many. You get the idea!”
Category: Hospitals & Healthcare
Page number: Thirteen
Ask number: 72 of 101
“As you know, equipment like this is costly. Because your past support has made a difference, I’m asking you today if you could manage to send us a gift of £35, £50 or even more. We’ll put your donation to work saving lives.”
Category: Social Services
Page number: Eighteen
Ask number: 97 of 101
“I’m writing to you today to ask for a special gift for our senior citizens like Charles. Your special love gift of $15 or more will put joy back into the heart of the amazing people that we work with here at Brookstone Hospice.”
Download this Handbook now. Start reading it—and profiting from its advice and examples—within minutes.
Format: E-book in Adobe PDF format for immediate download
Publisher: Andrew Spencer Publishing
Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches
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