The Ask: Send the Right Person


Before discussing this next topic—THE ASK—I want to state a fundamental truth of all successful fundraising efforts so you can get your mind wrapped around it early. What I tell you now should be tattooed on your brain so indelibly that when you open your eyes every morning the first thing you see is this truth, flashing on and off like neon lights. This truth stated most simply is:

People give to people.

What does this mean? It means that even if you approach a donor prospect who is motivated at the highest level to give your cause money and who is rolling in money and has ample amounts to give, you had best send the right person or persons to make that request.

I won’t labor this point here because it will come up again and again. The psychology of selecting the best person to make each and every “ask” must never be ignored. Asking for money is always a task that is pregnant with opportunities. If you send in the wrong people to make the “ask,” not only will you lose those opportunities; you also may not get the gift you had hoped for. As I said, more later, but burn this truth into your brain: send the right person to make the request.    

In the earliest stages of having your project reviewed, this principle will assist you, as well. It’s perfectly fine to have a professional staff member visit with a prospective donor about the earliest review of your project. Yet, the right person better request that review appointment, or no professional will ever get in the door for first contact.

Without question, the first thing I do when working with a fundraising client is hammer them for completion of a powerful case statement. At the same time, I am scanning the organization’s existing friends for who has the most respect among philanthropic leaders to help open doors with those leaders.

In other words, just getting proper review of a case statement can’t happen if someone of real power and influence doesn’t help me get doors open.