chapter 10 How to Ask

Organizations need to spend time helping their solicitors become more comfortable with the idea of asking for money and discussing the cultural and psychological barriers that inhibit many of us from engaging in this strategy, as discussed in Chapter Eight. However, it is equally important to focus on the sheer logistics of asking. Sometimes after a couple hours of psychological discussion, someone will ask, “But what do I wear to the meeting?” or “Do I have to pay for lunch?” or “Can I text the prospect to set up a meeting?” Often these details, rather than deep wounds from childhood, are what hold people back from asking.

In this chapter I take you through the details of a personal solicitation. This is what generally works, most of the time. You may need to adapt the solicitation to the cultural, class, and personal variables of each individual prospect and, to a lesser extent, to those same variables in yourself. When considering how to adapt the information, try to sort out what may be coming from your own anxiety and what is actually rooted in culture or class. For example, in many parts of the American South and in a number of Asian cultures, graciousness and politeness are very highly valued. As a result, it is considered rude to say no to a request and so it is also rude to ask someone for something to which they may have to say no. This makes asking for money directly difficult. Fundraisers sensitive to the culture use phrases such as, “Would ...

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