3 Must-Haves for an Effective Ask

Have you ever walked away from a meeting or phone call pumped about someone's interest in partnership with your ministry only to realize…you have no idea how much they are actually going to give? Or if they’ll give at all?!

A good, clear ask is made up of 3 crucial ingredients that will ensure you never leave another meeting without knowing exactly how much your donor is committed to giving.

1. Tie the ask to your ministry’s impact to ensure they know where their money is going.

2. Communicate how the donor fits into the ministry by sharing what their donation (and this partnership) is helping you to accomplish together.

3. Ask them a clear, concise question. As the recipient, you need to be able to construct your financial ask in a way that people can respond honestly. When we fail to make a clear, coherent ask we often set ourselves (and our donors) up for failure. Unclear and awkward asks can include cornering your donor, creating an uncomfortable space, telling them what to do, or leaving the conversation without making an ask at all.

When failing to discuss the amount to be given, fundraisers will often just wait until the donation shows up in the system to find out. But sometimes, our systems can take a really long time and occasionally even get the pledges wrong (or worse yet—the potential donor may “forget” to give). 

It can be really helpful to know what your partners are going to give as soon as possible, not just for your fundraising efforts, but to make sure everything gets entered into your systems correctly. 

If you’ve found yourself in the dark after one of your meetings, a quick email check-in where you show gratitude, remind them of the impact, and ask a clear question can pull you into the light again.

Example: "Hey Susan. Thank you so much for your interest in partnering with sharing the hope of Christ with the nations! For my records and to ensure accuracy with our system, would you mind letting me know how much you are planning to give and when you would like to start? Look forward to hearing from you and moving into this new journey together.”

Asking for a specific amount from your potential donor might seem pushy, but I have found that over 90% of people prefer to be asked for a specified number. In almost all cases, asking for a specific amount is going to generate the most authentic response and lower the most obstacles. By directly asking, "Would you be willing to partner at this level?" you are clearly stating a financial need that they can respond to with a yes or no answer.

The whole 4th chapter of our e-book, “How to Get a Generous Response (almost) Every Time You Ask” is dedicated to dissecting the anatomy of an effective ask. To learn more, click to get your copy and start reading today!

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