Fundraising is not “asking”

Some fundraisers are uncomfortable asking for money.

I get it. Asking can feel awkward. Like a hustle at best. Or at worst, like a scam.

But there’s a better way to think about asking, as Seth Godin points out at The generous ask:

… the best asks are actually offers. When we offer to help someone get to where they were going, we’re approaching the relationship with generosity, not selfishness.

Some fundraisers call the ask the “offer.” It’s a term borrowed from commercial marketing. It means “the thing you’ll get if you buy from (donate to) us.”

Instead of seeing your fundraising as a way to say, Give us some money and instead think of it as Make something you care about happen … your fundraising is suddenly very different.

And more effective.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.