So by now you’ve made your own gift and have been practicing asking for money (“would you consider a gift of $___”).

Today let’s look at something many of us forget: tangibilitizing the ask.

While you probably won’t find tangibilitize in the dictionary, you WILL find it in practice all around you. Look at any piece of direct mail you receive that’s trying to get you to spend money. The good ones will break down “what you’ll get” for the cost of the investment. They make the offer tangible, giving concrete examples.

Put yourself in the seat of the donor. Someone’s just asked you to give $1000 to her project. They’ve done a wonderful job presenting their case and you’re convinced they’re doing incredible work. But give $1000 from your personal account? How would your $1000 really help them?

Check out the leadership giving page of the Alfond Youth Center. Moving past the glaring orange background, the lack of a title on the web browser, and the fact that the donor list is 2 years old, check out the section starting with “Your membership will enable a disadvantaged child to receive…”

I love it! My $1000 would provide:

  • A full year of After School programming.
  • Hot meals daily.
  • Camp scholarships.
  • The child’s choice of a variety of enrichment programs.

That makes my $1000 tangible. Wow, I could supply a kid with hot meals every day?! I can get my heart behind that.

The Heifer Project tangibilitizes extraordinarily well. Look at their gift catalog. All sorts of gift ranges represented by different animals and an ark. Very cool!

So what can you do to make your ask tangible? How many people will be served by $1000? How many days (or hours) of programming will a gift of $5000 fund? How many meals will be served or jobs created or students assisted?

As you make your solicitation tangible, remember to not overwhelm with options. Be sure to reread the Fundraising Fallacy on Cheez-its.

In a way, tangibilitizing is all about taking someone’s abstract gift of money and making it real.

So go out there and make it real today!

21 Ways for Board Members to Engage with their Nonprofit's Fundraising book image

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