Asking for money is necessary for maintaining the fiscal strength of any nonprofit organization. However, fundraisers often bring their own insecurities about money to the table, and may project these anxieties onto prospective donors. In THE ASK: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose, fundraising expert Laura Fredricks has written a comprehensive, practical guide to acquiring the skills and confidence needed for the ask.
THE ASK begins by encouraging the fundraiser to confront personal issues about money. These psychological barriers can be broken down if the fundraiser believes in the mission of their organization and has knowledge of its inner workings. It is equally important to know the prospect well, including their views about money, and to acknowledge that each prospect is an individual with special concerns. Recognizing that a prospect's gift is an investment and not a handout can also be empowering. Next, the author guides the fundraiser with tips on how to judge when the prospect is ready to be asked, who should do the ask, and preparing for the ask. Ten Guiding Principles appear in boxes throughout the text, and sample dialogues show the importance of listening as well as speaking, and provide examples of thoughtful responses to prospects' concerns. The final chapter deals with the follow through, including thank you letters and future meetings to keep up the momentum of the ask.
Written in a conversational style that is both passionate and professional, THE ASK is an interesting read and a valuable reference book. There is a detailed table of contents, and charts and checklists appear in each chapter. The checklists are particularly helpful in chapters concerning major, planned, and capital campaign gifts. Additional resources include sources for fundraising software, prospect research providers and Web sites, the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice, and sample prospect materials for various types of giving.
Fundraising staff, volunteers, board members, presidents, and anyone with an interest in fundraising can benefit from this book. Fredricks is confident enough in her advice to provide readers with her e-mail address, so they can share their stories of success!