3 Methods of Asking

All told, we can engage in 3 methods of asking.  We can:

  • Beg;
  • Persuade; or,
  • Facilitate

Of the three, begging is the least effective and brings with it the smallest gift totals from individual donors.  This is the sympathy play.  Begging asks donors to give because there is an urgent need – perhaps with those you serve or perhaps in your organization.  You can beg once, but begging multiple times is potentially injurious to your organization.

Persuading is what most organizations spend time doing.  Whether through direct mail, phonathons, or even face-to-face, the aim here to provide one-way communication to either logically or emotionally convince donors to support your organization.  While this method is more effective than begging, it still fails to achieve uncommon returns from donors.

Facilitating is the most effective method.  Without question, principal and leadership level gifts come when we facilitate.  Here, the aim is to frame thoughtful questions and listen to donors as they talk about their interests, desires, and goals for their giving.  A facilitator attempts to create organization-donor partnerships that span the donor’s lifetime.  A facilitator is not interested in “getting a gift” from a donor  Instead, a facilitator is interesting in “building a gift” with a donor.

The problem, of course with facilitation is that it takes time.  In some instances, serious time.  And many organizations have needs yesterday.  So, instead of spending time facilitating, they continue begging or persuading, because at least some gift (usually small) comes in.  And, then, of course, 3 years goes by and they still have urgent needs that need fulfilling the day before.

So, here’s a question of the day:  To radically change your organization’s future charitable gift totals, how many donor relationships will you facilitate today?  The sooner you start facilitating more donor relationships, the sooner your organization will raise substantially more in gift income.


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