Let’s talk about what an ask is not before we define what it is, just to be sure we’re on the same page.
Mentioning that your organization needs money is notan ask.
Talking about why you need money is not an ask.
Explaining your nonprofit’s financial status is not an ask.
Spelling out how much you need, why you need it and then directly asking someone to give a certain portion of that amount—that is an ask.
You’ve probably heard that one of the main reasons people use for not donating to a nonprofit organization is, “They didn’t ask me to.” If that’s true, then it’s crucial to your fundraising efforts to understand exactly what a good ask entails. If people need to be asked to give, that’s fine—you’ll be prepared to ask and ask well.
Here are eight important elements of an ask that gets results.
Good rapport. Before you meet your prospect, figure out what his key interests are and how you could align those interests with your organization’s needs. Donors generally have a couple of key charitable interests, and the better you connect their interests with your mission, the better rapport you’ll develop. Think of an ask as two forces combining to create synergy—not as a sales pitch. You’re already on the same team; you just need to figure out what position he plays.
Compelling need. During an ask, you are the face and voice of your nonprofit organization. It’s important to bring a compelling need to your prospect and humanize your fundraising efforts. Instead of, “We need $20,000 to stay in the black this quarter,” try “A $20,000 gift will allow us to feed the hundreds of families that will come to us for a meal during the holiday season.” Paint a visual picture and create an emotional appeal even more than a financial one.
A deadline. Never leave an ask open-ended. Give your prospect a deadline if he doesn’t say yes immediately—it’s good to create a sense of urgency. “We appreciate your consideration and understand why you’d like to think before making this gift. May we have your answer by next Friday? We’d love to meet all the needs of the families we serve this quarter.”
Request for a specific donation amount. If you need a $100,000 general operating gift and the donor has that giving potential, then ask for it. If you need an additional $25,000 to complete the new addition to your shelter, ask for that. Always go in knowing how much you need and how it will be used.
A pause. Sometimes we approach an ask as if it’s our job to do all the talking. Actually, listening is equally important. Once you spell out your need and ask for a specific amount, stop. Let him respond. This can be uncomfortable and seem to last forever, but a pause allows your prospect to gather his thoughts. A useful tip: Keep a glass of water nearby so that you can take a sip after making the ask for a brief break in the conversation. Then let him respond while you wait.
Plan B. You made the ask, and she said, “No.” No problem. Now find out why? Did she mean, “No, not right now?” Or, “No, not that amount?” Or, “No, not all at once?” You should always have a follow-up plan, but that plan depends on your prospect’s reason for saying no. Ask questions—don’t take no for an answer immediately. You may be able to make a few adjustments (lower the amount, arrange a payment plan, etc.) that will turn her no into a yes.
Thank-you. Of course, this is important and you know that, but it couldn’t be left unsaid: Thank your donor in person, with a follow-up note, a phone call or whatever method you deem appropriate. Just be sure he knows how appreciated he and his gift are. Gratitude is key to turning a one-time donor into a recurring one.
Follow-up plan. Call back prospects that said maybe. Give those that said yes another opportunity to give down the road. Always look ahead and create a plan to engage with your prospects and new donors until you’re sure that person is definitely not interested. It’s all about creating relationships.
Mostly, remember this: An ask is not about wrenching a check out of some guy’s hand. Your job is to ask, and it is his job to decide. That takes the pressure off both of you if you understand the role each of you plays in the donation process.
When it comes to your fundraising efforts, how are online donations working for you? Integrating your online and offline fundraising is essential to long-term success. At Firespring, we provide branded fundraising pages optimized for high conversion so you can quickly and easily launch online fundraising campaigns for your nonprofits. Learn more by calling 877.447.8941 or email email@example.com.
We may collect and receive information about users of our Services ("users," "you," or "your") from various sources, including: (i) information you provide through your user account on the Services (your "Account") if you register for the Services; (ii) your use of the Services; and (iii) from third-party websites, services, and partners.
1. DATA WE COLLECT, COOKIES & TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
We may ask for your contact information, including items such as name, company name, address, email address, and telephone number. When you add your financial account information to your Account, that information is directed to our third-party payment processor. We do not store your financial account information on our systems; however, we have access to, and may retain, subscriber information through our third-party payment processor. If you contact us directly, we may receive additional information about you and/or attachments you may send us, and any other information you may choose to provide. We may also receive a confirmation when you open an email from us.
Like most websites, we may gather certain information automatically and store it in log files. We may collect certain information automatically from your device. This information may include internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp, clickstream data, landing page, and referring URL. To collect this information, a cookie may be set on your computer or device when you visit our Services. Cookies contain a small amount of information that allows our web servers to recognize you. We store information that we collect through cookies, log files, and/or clear gifs to record your preferences. We may also automatically collect information about your use of features of our Services, about the functionality of our Services, frequency of visits, and other information related to your interactions with the Services. We may track your use across different websites and services. In some countries, including countries in the European Economic Area ("EEA"), the information referenced above in this paragraph may be considered personal information under applicable data protection laws.
When you use our Services, we may collect information about your engagement with and utilization of our Services. We use this data to operate the Services, maintain and improve the performance and utilization of the Services, develop new features, protect the security and safety of our Services and our customers, and provide customer support. We also use this data to develop aggregate analysis and business intelligence that enable us to operate, protect, make informed decisions, and report on the performance of our business.
If you choose to link our Services to a third-party account, we will receive information about that account, such as your authentication token from the third-party account, to authorize linking. If you wish to limit the information available to us, you should visit the privacy settings of your third-party accounts to learn about your options. We may also receive publicly available information about you from our third-party partners and combine it with data that we have about you. We are not responsible for the privacy policies and/or practices of these third-party services, and we encourage you to carefully review their privacy policies.
2. USE OF INFORMATION & CHOICES YOU HAVE
We use the information we collect in various ways. Including the following; provide, operate, and maintain our Services; improve, and expand our Services; understand and analyze how you use our Services; develop new products, services, features, and functionality; communicate with you, either directly or through one of our partners, including for customer service, to provide you with updates and other information relating to the Service, and for marketing and promotional purposes; process your transactions; find and prevent fraud; and for compliance purposes, including enforcing our Master Agreement, or other legal rights, or as may be required by applicable laws and regulations or requested by any judicial process or governmental agency.
You may unsubscribe from receiving certain promotional emails from us. If you wish to do so, simply follow the instructions found at the end of the email. Even if you unsubscribe, we may still contact you for informational, transactional, account-related, or similar purposes.
3. HOW INFORMATION MAY BE SHARED
We may share the information we collect in various ways, including the following:
Vendors and Service Providers. We may share information with third-party vendors and service providers that provide services on our behalf, such as helping to provide our Services, for promotional and/or marketing purposes, and to provide you with information relevant to you such as product announcements, software updates, special offers, or other information.
Aggregate Information. Where legally permissible, we may use and share information about users with our partners in aggregated or de-identified form that can’t reasonably be used to identify you.
Third-Party Partners. We also share information about users with third-party partners in order to receive additional publicly available information about you.
Information We Share When You Sign Up Through a Referral. If you sign up for our Services through a referral from a friend, we may share information with your referrer to let them know that you used their referral to sign up for our Services.
Business Transfers. Information may be disclosed and otherwise transferred to any potential acquirer, successor, or assignee as part of any proposed merger, acquisition, debt financing, sale of assets, or similar transaction, or in the event of insolvency, bankruptcy, or receivership in which information is transferred to one or more third parties as one of our business assets.
With Your Consent. We may share information with your consent.
4. LEGAL BASIS FOR PROCESSING PERSONAL INFORMATION
Our legal basis for collecting and using the personal information described above will depend on the personal information concerned and the specific context in which we collect it. However, we will normally collect personal information from you only (i) where we need the personal information to perform a contract with you; (ii) where the processing is in our legitimate interests and not overridden by your rights; or (iii) where we have your consent to do so. We have a legitimate interest in operating our Services and communicating with you as necessary to provide these Services, for example when responding to your queries, improving our platform, undertaking marketing, or for the purposes of detecting or preventing illegal activities.
In some cases, we may also have a legal obligation to collect personal information from you or may otherwise need the personal information to protect your vital interests or those of another person. If we ask you to provide personal information to comply with a legal requirement or to perform a contract with you, we will make this clear at the relevant time and advise you whether the provision of your personal information is mandatory or not (as well as of the possible consequences if you do not provide your personal information).
5. SECURITY & RETENTION
Firespring is committed to protecting your information. We use a variety of security technologies and measures designed to protect information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. The measures we use are designed to provide a level of security appropriate to the risk of processing your personal information. However, please bear in mind that the Internet cannot be guaranteed to be 100% secure. We retain personal information we collect from you where we have an ongoing legitimate business need to do so (for example, to provide you with a service you have requested or to comply with applicable legal, tax, or accounting requirements). When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
If you are a registered user, you may access certain information associated with your Account by logging into our Services or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you terminate your Account, any public activity on your Account prior to deletion may remain stored on our servers and may remain accessible to the public. To protect you, we may take reasonable steps to verify your identity before updating or removing information. The information you provide us may be archived or stored periodically by us according to backup processes conducted in the ordinary course of business for disaster recovery purposes. Your ability to access and correct your information may be temporarily limited where access and correction could: inhibit Firespring's ability to comply with a legal obligation; inhibit Firespring's ability to investigate, make or defend legal claims; result in disclosure of personal information about a third party; or result in breach of a contract or disclosure of trade secrets or other proprietary business information belonging to Firespring or a third party.
7. YOUR DATA PROTECTION RIGHTS UNDER THE GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION (GDPR)
If you are a resident of the EEA, you have the following data protection rights and we ask you to email email@example.com to exercise any of the following rights:
If you wish to access, correct, update, or request deletion of your personal information.
In addition, you can object to the processing of your personal information, ask us to restrict the processing of your personal information, or request portability of your personal information.
You have the right to opt-out of marketing communications we send you at any time. You can exercise this right by clicking on the "unsubscribe" or "manage preferences" link in the marketing emails we send you. To opt-out of other forms of marketing, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we have collected and process your personal information with your consent, then you can withdraw your consent at any time. Withdrawing your consent will not affect the lawfulness of any processing we conducted prior to your withdrawal, nor will it affect the processing of your personal information conducted in reliance on lawful processing grounds other than consent.
You have the right to complain to a data protection authority about our collection and use of your personal information.
We are grateful for your donation and support of our organization. If you have made an error in making your donation or change your mind about contributing to our organization please contact us. Refunds are returned using the original method of payment. If you made your donation by credit card, your refund will be credited to that same credit card.
Automated Recurring Donation Cancellation
Ongoing support is important to enabling projects to continue their work, so we encourage donors to continue to contribute to projects over time. But if you must cancel your recurring donation, please notify us.