I am Speaking

               I am Speaking…

Award-Winning International Fundraiser & Speaker

The Assertive Ask Method- 3 Tips to Making The Most Out Of Your Ask

Fundraising is essential to the success of your organization. However, I discovered through my training and consulting business that many non-profit leaders lacked the confidence to ask for money.   I kept getting the same questions over and over. And 75% of these questions were coming from women. They have a passion for their community and organization but being assertive when it came to donors was scary for them.

I also discovered that the majority of fundraisers have an unorganized ask. They didn’t have a plan. A plan is essential for success when it comes to the ask! I have created a few tips to help you with your assertive ask.

I enjoyed sharing the Assertive Ask method with of The Storytelling Nonprofit. If you are new to fundraising, or need a fresh perspective, take a listen.

Here are three tips for an assertive ask:

1. Focus on the donor, not your organization
What do I mean by this? You can tell if you do this by listening to how you speak to a potential donor. Listen and see if you use the word “we” a lot.  In my very early days of fundraising, my mentor corrected me on this. Donors don’t want to hear about your metrics; they want to hear about how impact and how they can be included. Instead, use the word “you,” “Would you,” or “Would you like to donate?” is the correct way to ask a donor.

2. Focus on the impact
How is your organization impacting the community you serve? Be clear on the benefit of the ask. You want to state in all of your communication, what this amount of money will do for your clients or organization. You want to be as specific as possible. For example, $100 will provide a book bag and school supplies for two students all school year. Sometimes donor communication can be so vague and indirect. Try to avoid this by being specific.

When you are talking to a potential donor, being assertive eliminates you from being nervous, rushing conversation, and wandering eyes. When you rush the conversation, that is a turnoff for donors. Avoid this by having a very clear and concise ask.

Pro tip: Take the time to research prospective donors and see what they have given to in the past; see if your initiatives match. It is likely they will donate if they already have an interest in your focus area.

3. Silence
When you have made your pitch, sometimes the tendency is to keep talking to avoid that awkward silence. Being silent is very hard to do sometimes if you like to talk or you are a professional speaker like me. Once you’ve made your pitch, be silent. Silence allows you to have control over the conversation because it allows time for the potential donor to respond.

The best way to build confidence is to practice. Act out your ask with a co-worker or mentor. The more you practice, the more natural your pitch will sound, and your confidence will build.

One thing I did when I first started in fundraising was joined professional associations within my area. I was able to build confidence through practice by discussing my organization’s initiatives with other professionals. Another group I joined was Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a great way to become more comfortable speaking in front of people.

Fundraising doesn’t have to be scary. I would suggest you find a mentor. Someone you can depend on to guide you.


I empower nonprofit leaders and development teams to ask with confidence. Do you or your team need help? Let’s talk…

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