We are coming up on year-end and, as usual, there is one thing on fundraisers’ minds:

“How can I effectively use this season to ask for gifts?” 

I hope you are not thinking of using these themes or phrases in your appeals: 

“Please help us”             

“We need you”

Or, worse

“We work so hard and do such good work – you should give to us”

Use a proven ask strategy – one that donors respond to.

Here are two highly effective ask strategies that will encourage donors to give more – especially this year-end.

These are not new strategies. Many people use this kind of wording.  But we want to remind you – once again – to format your asks correctly. You’ll raise more money if you do!

1. The Gap Approach

The Gap approach frames a gift conversation in specific dollars. It shows the donor exactly what impact they can make with their gift.

This approach also adds a sort of power, energy, and urgency to the gift conversation.

Remember, donors give because they want to make a difference. This type of approach inspires and excites the donor about what they can accomplish through your organization.

Here’s an example:

“Our current funding can support only 1,000 after-school kids this year. Our data shows that at least 500 other children really need help. 

We seek funding to reach these other 500 children. Your gift of $XXX, will help ensure these kids will get help. 

Think about it. Wouldn’t you say yes?

(Thanks to our friends at Benevon for the original thinking on this idea.)

2. The MPI Fundraising Formula

As you may have guessed, MPI stands for “Money + Purpose = Impact.”  You ask the donor for a certain amount of money, for a specific purpose, and then describe the impact this gift will make.

This approach forces you to be crystal clear about the three fundamental parts of any formal ask. Use this concept in every single ask: digital appeals, direct mail, GivingTuesday, event sponsorships, and especially major gift asks.

The MPI formula works because you are offering the donor a concrete goal. You are connecting your donor to a specific impact that they can make with their gift.

Telling donors exactly how you will spend their money helps build trust. When a donor trusts you and feels good about the impact they made – they will keep on giving.

BOTTOM LINE: Last Tips For Your Ask

1. You always need to say exactly how much you need to raise.

Please don’t be one of those nonprofits who say “we need to raise as much as possible!” That may be true, but it’s not going to inspire your donor. Always, always ask for a specific amount.

2. The specificity of your appeal triggers your donor’s generosity.

What exactly do you want to fund? What are you wanting to accomplish? Be clear about your purpose, and don’t be afraid to tell donors what could be achieved, with their help.

3. Always focus on the impact. It’s the most important part of the ask! 

When you add the impact and the project, you make it not so much about the money. Instead you make it about the powerful good that your donor will be doing in the world.

As always, it is a pleasure to share our weekly news and insights with you. 

If you are planning a capital campaign and would like to learn about our unique Capital Campaigns by the Numbers approach, let us know. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

One Saturday in June I managed to snag master fundraiser Jerry Panas on the phone for an exclusive hour-long private interview, just for the INSIDERS – about successful face-to-face asks.

I’m making this available today to everyone so they can see the quality of the training and teaching that they can get from my educational program–Fundraising Insiders.

In this interview,  Jerry Panas shares with us his tried-and-true strategies for successful face-to-face asks. Learn:
  • Why Jerry Panas will never call a visit with a potential donor an “appointment.”
  • How do you know how much to ask of a donor?
  • Getting the visit is 85% of the ask.
  • How to handle donor objections and turn them into fuel for your ask.
  • What is a power question? And how can you use them to raise more money.
  • How to infuse your meeting with passion and excitement.
  • How do you get your potential donor from their head to their heart to their checkbook? People who enjoy their gift the most are people who give–viscerally.
If you have ever heard Jerry speak, you will know that he is the MASTER of solicitation strategies.
Best of all, he really knows how to spin a project or the cause in a way that makes it sound like something you have just GOT tp be part of. His enthusiasm is contagious – and you need to hear how he does it!

Jerry has mastered the art of making a cause feel “irresistible” to a mega donor. And it is all right here:

Jerry Panas

Jerry Panas

For more great training like this, join my Fundraising Insiders today! 

Dr. Jerold Panas, Founding Partner of Jerold Panas, Linzy and Partner, is a leading speaker and trainer in the field of philanthropy. The author of sixteen books, including the perennial best-seller “Asking,” he has an unsurpassed knowledge of every aspect of resource development and an unequaled passion for sharing his experience with major donors and successful campaigns around the world. Jerry delivers dozens of conference keynotes, workshops and board training sessions annually.