Tiplet: The ask

Today's tiplet offers quick advice on the ask, which means the occasion on which you finally ask your prospective donor to make a gift. 

1. Don't make it a surprise. The ask should never take a prospective donor off guard. The actual solicitation should come after some period (weeks, months, or sometimes years) of ongoing discussions with the individual about his or her interests and philanthropic inclinations related to your nonprofit.

2. Embrace silence. As inherently outgoing people, fundraisers can be quick to fill in what they can perceive as awkward pauses in conversation, when, in actuality, the person you're soliciting may need a minute to let your request sink in and to conjure a thoughtful response.

3. Be flexible. If your initial request is met with a bit of hesitation, remind the donor that there are several possible ways to move forward. This includes making a gift over a number of years (e.g., donating $100K over two years instead of one); reducing or increasing the gift amount; and reviewing various recognition options (e.g., naming a room at your facility for the donor or holding a special event to thank the donor). 

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