How to ASSURE a Gift

by Jason Dick · 0 comments

What are the steps of a successful solicitation?  Every solicitation should be made up of a few simple things a thank you, a story, an ask, a close, and follow-up.  ASSURE is an acronym (or as I call it an ASKronym) that we are currently using with our campaign when we approach a potential donor.  This is a great way to help our board members (and staff) remember each important step in the solicitation process.

A – Acknowledge – Thank the donor for their past gifts or volunteer involvement.  Make sure this is personal and specific.  Maybe mention how the money was spent or what difference it made.
S – Story – Tell a story that talks about an area of interest to your donor.  Make this story as real as possible.  If you can provide an individual story of a person that your organization served it is more meaningful.  Some donors are all about investment, if that is the case make sure your story includes the overall community impact.
S – Solicit – This one is simple and yet the most feared.  Ask the donor for exactly what you’d like them to give (or a range of amounts).  This should be very short and easy to understand.
U – Understand – Be quiet and listen to what the donor is saying (silence always follows an ask, the donor should be the next person to speak).  Do not say anything just listen to their response.
R – Review – Give a quick overview of what you’ve discussed and the outcomes.
E – End – Make sure that you have a follow-up plan in place.  A specific time that you will call or visit the donor to follow up regarding their gift (if they are still thinking about it) or to discuss the pledge sheet (or give the pledge sheet to them).

There are probably thousands of ASKronyms out there this is just one of them.  I like it because it has the key components of an ask and it’s easy to remember.  Do you have an ASKronym of your own, write a comment and share it below.

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The Pre-Emptive Gift

by Jason Dick · 0 comments

Have you ever set out to ask a donor for a gift, you set everything up perfectly, have a great solicitation plan, and then you go to ask them for their gift and they offer you a smaller gift before you can ask? Or maybe your donor tells you I’m just going to give this don’t worry about coming out and asking me?

We want donors to be giving on their own accord but especially for our major and lead gifts (and especially during a specific campaign) we want to be able to present them the whole picture first.  Some donors do this because we take too long to ask.  But most donors do this because they want to get out of giving a larger gift.

What do you do in this situation?  How do you respond to a pre-emptive gift?  Start by acknowledging and thanking them for the gift.  Then explain to them that you came to ask for a gift of X and we wanted to talk with you about how a gift of Y can make a difference in your organization.  I hope you’ve done good research and know what you are asking them for.  If that is the case, don’t let their gift stop you from following through with what you intended to do.  But don’t ignore the gift that they just gave either.  I’ve heard stories of people that have responded with, “Thank you for the payment of the first installment of your multi-year pledge.”

Another technique that I have used with pre-emptive gifts is explain why a solicitation is important.  If you are talking to multiple board members then it is important that each board member have this experience before they talk to another board member.  If it is because you have a very specific request let them know you have a specific program that you want to talk with them about.

Have you had a donor give or try and give a pre-emptive gift?  What did you do in that situation?  How did the donor respond?

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Annual Board Solicitations

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Barometer or Board Member

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Pick Up the Phone

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Credit Card Processing for a Fundraising Campaign

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If Its Not Broken

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I’ve worked in three very different fundraising shops in my career and have found that they all have done things very differently and raised very different amounts of money. I know we have all looked enviously at other organizations and how well they can raise money and lamented why people are not knocking down doors […]

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Discovery, Cultivation, Solicitation & Stewardship

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If you have been in fundraising you know those those three words all to well. But I’ve found that often we talk a lot about them and never actually use them. How often do we talk about creating a great process to cultivate or steward donors and then never actually take the time to spend […]

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