All fall, we’ve been working through the basics of asking people for money with the simple four-step formula: R.E.A.L.

  1. Research,
  2. Engage,
  3. Ask, and
  4. Love ’m.

I love asking people for money! I hope that outlining a simple process like this will help get other people as fired-up about fundraising as I am!

So far, we’ve looked at RESEARCH and ENGAGE. (You can see the archives at I hope that these two steps seem like incredibly simple common sense.

We’d do well to get to know people before we ask them for money. Through finding out about a prospect with simple research tools and getting to know them in conversation over a period of time, we can focus our ask on projects that the prospect will be predisposed to supporting. And they’ll know you too, making the actual solicitation more of a conversation between colleagues.

As normal as this sounds, we often forget to do it. Faced with the crisis of needed funding, we either blindly send out a letter to a chamber of commerce mailing list, or we start calling people we’d love to have make a gift.

Both approaches may get moderate short-term results. But neither builds long-term relationships for your organization.

Two Suggested Resolutions for the New Year
Here are a couple resolutions to consider for the New Year:

  1. Make a practice of taking time to P.Y.I.T.S., “put yourself in their shoes.” Before you send a letter or make a call, take a moment to ask how you yourself would respond if you were about to receive such a letter or call.Â
  2. Commit to reading Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I try to read this book at least once a year. Why not do it in 2006?

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

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