Here are 14 examples of very specific natural, comfortable formats for asking.
It’s so helpful to board members when we can show them easy ways to make the ask.
Offer your board members these options:
1. Ask your business contacts to sponsor an event.
Ask someone you do business with to sponsor your annual event.
You never know who might be really excited about your cause, and would be happy to advertise via a sponsorship.
You can go far with enthusiasm!
2. Ask your friends to sponsor.
Ask a friend or family member to sponsor your annual event. “C’m0n everybody, let’s make this happen! – It’s important.”
Be sure you remind your friends just how important the work is and what’s at stake.
People want to help their community – especially when a friend asks them.
3. Ask everybody you know to attend your event.
Ask your friends to attend your annual event: “C’m0n everybody – this will be the best party in town and the kids need our help!”
Try setting a goal that you’re trying to reach – ask your network to help reach the goal so they can help xxx happen.
For example, “We want to double the number of people who come.”
Or: if we can raise “$50k, then we can care for all the sick people who come in the door.”
Link it back to something specific.
4. Visit elected officials.
Many board members have warm relationships with government staffers or politicians – all of whom may control the purse strings of grants or appropriations.
Even though government gifts have dried up for now, there’s always another budget cycle in the future!
You can visit personally with elected officials. Remind them of the good work your organization does in the community. Ask them to support it with appropriations – now or later.
5. Write donors and ask.
Ask donors to consider increasing their gift to a new level.
Tell them why you care and what the organization’s work means to you. Be sincere.
I love the power of a hand-written solicitation letter.
Especially when it’s written by a board member.
6. Ask people to join a gift club.
Promote joining a gift club to everyone you know and do business with.
“Come on and join me at the xxx level – we need to make it happen for those kids!”
Be specific about what they can accomplish with their gift.
7. Make personal visits.
Take a donor or former donor out to coffee and update them, and ask them to continue their support.
Many donors appreciate it when a board member visits them personally.
Because you are not paid as a board member and don’t have a vested interest, you’re acting from the moral high ground of a pure-hearted community volunteer.
Don’t forget that!
8. Ask other board members.
Ask – encourage – talk it up – with other board members.
Ask them cheerfully and enthusiastically to join you at a certain gift club level.
Encourage everybody on the board to make a proud, personal gift, and don’t be shy about it.
9. Make visits with your CEO.
Accompany your CEO on cultivation and solicitation calls.
Even if your role is not to ask during the visit, your personal testimonial on why you care is very, very powerful.
10. Warm up a donor.
I think donors need to be warmed up before they are asked. It helps make them ready.
I don’t like to approach donors cold.
Many times a board member is perfect to say to the prospect, “Can we come talk to you about supporting the kids?”
11. Followup a solicitation.
And often a board member is perfect for the followup.
Remember my friend Laura Fredricks’ well-known adage, “An ask is not an ask without followup.”
As a board member, you can help close the gift and say, “The kids really need your help! Join me . . . “
12. Ask your Facebook friends.
Ask your Facebook friends to join you in supporting the cause.
Imagine how terrific it would be if you could activate your social media network for your cause.
Set a goal and tell them why it’s important. Set a deadline and get everybody working on a timetable.
Why don’t you try to get everybody you know on your organization’s bandwagon?
13. Hold an “ask event” at your home.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could invite 20 or 30 friends and share an opportunity to help make a difference in your community?
You could challenge them to join you and help out.
Just think of the difference you could make!
14. Send an email appeal to your friends.
I am always making contributions to my friends’ causes because of an email solicitation.
And I love helping my friends out.
It’s easier, too, when you talk about something specific you are trying to accomplish. Your friends will want to help you!
This is one of the easiest ways to drum up support and interest in your cause.
Give it a try!
As always, thanks so much for your comments!
What can you add?