At your event, make sure the Ask is right.

We’ve had some really great feedback and thoughts on a recent post highlighting the importance of caring for the little things to make your big fundraising events awesome.  Really excited to learn it has been helpful!  As a result I’ve been thinking more about the not so little things that are also critical to ensure we knock our guests socks off.

Arguably, one of the biggest things to absolutely get right at your fundraising dinner, gala, or extravaganza, is the Ask.  This is the part when you Ask for the dough.  Ask for the partnership.  Ask for folks to believe in your mission’s agency by investing financially.  It’s kind of the whole point.  I’ve been to a number of events and seen this done really well, other times, not so much.  So, while these may be no-brainers for some,  to increase the likelihood of folks responding well to our Ask, I’ll offer the following guidelines/reminders:

  1. Consider carefully who you will invite to do this.  A Board Member, major donor, individual whose life has been positively impacted by the work your agency is doing are all potentially good choices.  Keep in mind you are NOT looking for a keynote speaker.
  2. Keep it short.  Depending upon how you have framed the rest of the program, at this point, folks are ready to be asked.  It is not likely they need more information.
  3. Keep it clear.  Provide specific value offers.  Consider sharing your annual budget.  Let folks know what a gift of $10,000, $5,000, $1,000, and even smaller amounts can do – practically.
  4. Keep it compelling.  Building upon the emotional crest that has been built, and articulate in a spirited way the impact the gifts given will realize.
  5. Create a match.  If you have a generous donor willing to make a pre-negotiated match, share that with your folks.
  6. Provide clear instructions on how the response, giving, or pledge card works.  Take a few moments to walk through it as you do not want guests in the seats to have questions.
  7. Make sure that folks have time to fill out their pledge card.  Background music is great.  Don’t rush them.

Would love to hear other thoughts on how to create a world class Ask?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.


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