The Ask Is The Only Answer: How to Avoid the #1 Mistake in Fundraising

Courage. Tenacity of Human Spirit. A missed opportunity…

Last week in Key West, I had the immense honor to watch legendary long-distance swimmer, Diana Nyad perform her new one-woman show, “Onward.” After 35 years on her fifth attempt, she successfully swam from Cuba to Key West. 110 grueling miles. 51 non-stop hours. Called the Mount Everest of a long-distance swim, teaming with killer sharks and deadly venomous Box jellyfish, her feat and performance were triumphant!

Completely riveted and engaged, I have never been so glued to any account of a true story. With grace, grit, humor, science, and even song Ms. Nyad entertained and inspired a sold-out house. Diana Nyad is a heroine for us all and has my immense admiration and support.

However, during her incredible performance, my philanthropy mindset kept surfacing. How could I make a difference? I was eager to write a check on the spot!

Yet, no “ask” was made.just-ask

I keenly waited for Ms. Nyad’s gracious personal “ask” to support her continued efforts. I was primed to contribute; I wanted to be part of her growing team to make a difference. Still, through an intermission where she swam the entire time (really), a standing ovation, personal questions and answers and even autographs, no invitation came to her loyal supporters at her own event.

Failure to ask. The #1 commonly overlooked fundraising mistake.

What about you? As a nonprofit, charitable organization and school, you too have a myriad of inspiring success stories imbedded in your history and at your fingertips. Life changing stories. Stories that ignite generosity.

How do you tell your stories? And do you ASK your audience at your auctions to continue to support you further? Many organizations share information about missions and programs at auctions and fundraising events. But they fail to communicate the impact of a gift of the supporter.

Imagine your most favorite non-profit, school or charity. How do YOU feel when you write a check to an organization that you LOVE? Think about it… you feel good, you feel great!

When you ASK…. It’s actually a privilege – an honor. It’s powerful.

When you ask, you are giving someone the opportunity to feel really really good about themselves and to feel great about making a difference.

My colleague and fundraising consultant, Sharon Danosky, President, Danosky & Associates, “People are just waiting to be asked…and it’s our job to ask them.”

Americans are incredibly generous and philanthropic, they are giving, but they could give more. According to Penelope Burk’s donor research, 47 percent of donors have more to give. (Burk, P. (2013). The Burk Donor Survey: Where Philanthropy is Headed in 2013. Cygnus Applied Research, Inc.: Chicago, IL. )

Your auction guests, donors, sponsors, board members and volunteers are just waiting to be asked. Your job as the ASKER is simple: you help connect them to your cause and to help them to understand the impact of their gift to you.

It’s about sharing your unique success story of your organization and offering someone the opportunity to make a difference so that they can feel the difference they make!

Just ask! And do not stop asking; be unabashedly explicit about raising money and where you need the funds! NOW is the time to communicate how much your donor’s investment will positively impact your cause.

As a very wise person once said: If you don’t ask, the answer is always the same!”

Would you like to learn more about telling your story and asking for funds?

Join me on April 1st in Arlington Virginia for our New Workshop: Auctions, Galas & Fundraisers. Click here to register now.  Along with Lynne Zink, International Auctioneer Champion, we’ll share our insider secrets of how to tell your story and ask for funds to break revenue records.

Earn the undying support of your fundraiser auction guests. Would you like to learn more about how you can rivet your auction audiences and make an ask that can result in thousands even hundreds of thousands of dollars and in just a few moments!

If I can assist you to tell your inspiring stories and ask for funds, feel free to contact me. Even if you already have your auctioneer. Let’s talk.

Your comment and suggestions are always welcome: Contact me: kathy@kingstonauction.com

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