We know, we know. This goes against all the rules!
You have heard forever that if you rush a donor into a big ask, you are risking everything. You
can damage your entire relationship – one that you have painstakingly developed – with an
The last thing you want is for the donor to feel pushed. Then all is lost.
But yes, there is a way to move forward and accelerate the ask. Can you put an ask on the table,
while you are being exquisitely polite, easy, and gentle?
It can be so challenging.
You may be sitting there in a donor visit and you wonder if she might be ready to make a gift.
What do you do?
Some fundraisers might blurt out an ask with no preparation or warm-up of any kind.
But prepared, experienced fundraisers know exactly how to handle this special opportunity.
Accelerate the big ask by asking questions.
Help your donor walk through the door of a gift.
With a few well-placed questions, you can easily and seamlessly move forward start discussing
the idea of a gift. And it’s all based on a key concept: Asking for permission.
Here are a few simple ways to accelerate an ask, and move your donor right into a Gift
1. Would you like to know how you can help?
Again, this is such an easy question to ask. There your donor is, carrying on and on about her
interest in your mission.
You can simply ask, “Would you like to know how you could help?”
Do note that you are asking your donor for permission to discuss this topic. Does the donor want
to go in this direction or not?
receive five, six, and even seven-figure gifts from happy donors – without even asking for the gift.
2. Could you see yourself supporting our work in a bigger way?
This is one of our favorite qualification questions. Your donor might be sharing her excitement
about your institution’s mission, and you sense that the door is opening for a gift discussion.
It’s so easy to simply ask “Could you see yourself supporting this project?” You’ll find out
immediately whether this prospect wants to discuss a gift, and probably even when she would
In addition, this is a great question for board members to ask their contacts. A board member
may invite a friend to an event.
As a follow-up, they can ask: How did you like the event? Would you like to get involved?
Could you see yourself supporting our work?
Again, it’s not pushy, and it’s very easy for a board member to come out and say this.
3. Have you ever thought about helping to support our work?
If your prospect is Your donor may have never thought about the idea of a gift. So it’s your job
to bring it up. You are simply inquiring about the donor’s interest in getting more involved.
We love this question, too, because it helps you qualify whether your prospect might become a
BOTTOM LINE: Don’t make it a “Big Ask.” Instead have an
Asking conversations are low-pressure and oriented toward the donor. Use these questions to
lead your donor right down the path to a gift.
As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly insights with you as we cover important fundraising strategies.
If your organization is planning a capital campaign or expanding your major gifts program – we can help. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to schedule a free strategy call with us.