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.