Start 2016 Off Right: How to Ask Well


You can raise more money right away just by learning how to ask well.

The fundraising pros know that every time you Ask your donors you should have an “offer” – a summary of the need and how the donor can meet with with a gift.

Here are the 4 elements your offer(s) need to be most successful:

  1. A problem that is easy to understand
  2. A solution that is easy to understand
  3. The cost of the solution seems like a good deal
  4. Urgency or deadline to solving the problem

Every time you send out a letter, or have an event, or send an email, be sure those four elements are present and you’ll raise more money.

And remember, your fundraising offer will likely talk about only part of what your organization does, not everything you do or every program you run. If you find yourself adding lists of programs or explaining services or listing partner organizations, you’ll reducing your results.  Keep it simple!

Most organizations tend to think that ‘if donors know everything we do then they will be more likely to donate.’  It’s a mistake to think that way!  Countless tests have proven that you’ll raise less money if you constantly explain all that your organization does.

Here’s how to think about it; donors who understand one powerful part of what you do – and how their gift helps – will be more likely to donate.

The power of a good fundraising offer is that it asks your donors to focus on “one powerful part” instead of on everything that you do.  Plus, a good offer makes it clear what their gift does.

Create or refine your offer!  You’ll start raising more money immediately.  If you’d like help, get in touch with me @jimshapiro.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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