“I’d like to ask you to consider a gift of $5,000 to the campaign.”

Did you practice the question? Is it rolling off your tongue?

Keep on practicing. Then try adding higher dollar amounts.

I was just speaking with a new colleague who told me a cool story. In a past position, he and the board were hoping for a $50,000 gift from a donor for a campaign.

When they shared the story, the donor said, “I’m prepared to give you $50,000.” Here they all breathed an internal sigh of relief, but the donor hadn’t finished. He continued, “A year for the next five years.”

How cool is that!

Granted, that doesn’t happen to all of us. Usually we’re the ones trying to remember the “a year for the next five years” phrase. Last fall, a donor told me she doubled her gift simply because of that phrase.

She’d decided on a number and had written the check. We’d asked for a multi-year pledge and she had decided on a one-time gift. I was grateful for her including a gift to us at all, but I took a risk and said, “At the risk of appearing pushy, would you consider repeating that amount at this time next year too?”

It turns out the amount was a few thousand dollars! (When she told me she’d written a check, I’d fallen into the trap of thinking of my checkbook and the size check I could write. I should know better than to do that!)

But because I asked her to consider repeating the gift next year, she did.

You just never know until you ask!

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