Despite my amazing ability to complicate things, I’m a firm believer in keeping things simple. Simplicity has a beauty of its own. Especially in fundraising.

Asking people for money brings up all sorts of fears. Once a person overcomes those fears and starts trying to find out how to ask people for money, she’s often bogged down with all sorts of well meaning techniques and tools.

Think of the last book you read on fundraising. It often gets caught up in the morass of direct mail minutia, planned giving options, and gift grids and ratios.

I fear we’re running the risk of over complexity as we look specifically at “the ask.” We’ve been looking at this since January! Already we’ve covered

  • the need to just get out there and ask (“would you consider a gift of–”?),
  • the need to keep asking (multiple year gifts),
  • the importance of asking yourself first, and
  • the idea of making your solicitation concrete (tangibilitizing).

But when it comes right down to it, asking for money is simply story telling.

  • You figure out what people are most likely to resonate with your story.
  • You let people tell you their story.
  • Then you show them points of intersection with your organization’s story.
  • Then you ask if they’d consider investing in one of those points.
  • Then you go and tell that story to the next person.

What can you do this week to get out there and tell your story? Better yet, what can you do this week to get out there and listen to a prospect’s story?

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