Major Gifts Making the Ask

Want to make a successful “ask”? Silence, please.

You can talk your way right out of a major gift.

Let’s set the stage: So, here you are, with your colleague, seated in the prospect’s living room, sipping the coffee you were offered.  You’ve spent the first 30 to 45 minutes of the meeting re-connecting, telling your story based on the prospect’s interests, listening and responding. 

 It is now time to make the “ask.”  You say, “So Susan, we’d like you to consider a gift of $<pre-determined gift amount> to support <project, program, campaign or organization>.

 And now, here it comes:  BE QUIET!

 Repeat:  Be quiet.  Do not speak again until the prospect responds.   

Why?  If you speak before the prospect answers you are:

  1. Negotiating against yourself (the prospect hasn’t said anything yet)!
  2. Distracting the prospect (give the person space to consider your request)
  3. Signaling that you are nervous
  4. Missing the prospect’s core reaction 

You’ve put a lot of time and energy into setting up the “ask.”   Don’t do the talking for your prospect.

Silence, please.

To learn more about making the “ask”?

  • Google—you’ll find lots of information and training programs.
  • AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) conferences, workshops and trainings
  • Can I toot my own horn?

No tags