Does Ask, Ask, and Ask Again Really Work?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Doing the same thing wrong over and over doesn’t improve results.
I noticed a comment on a LinkedIn post recently that said, “Ask, ask, and ask again. All the rest is commentary.”
Here was my response:
“I think I have to respectfully disagree.
Asking at the wrong time only angers major donors. Asking over and over angers donors. Asking without providing value angers donors.
I don’t believe that major gift fundraising works to get results the same way pounding a hammer against a nail does to get it into a piece of wood. I get “asked, asked, asked” all the time and I don’t give. But the people who invest the time to get to know me, build a relationship with me and match what their organization does with how I want to find meaning in my life… they get my money every time.”
Who do you think is right? Me or him?

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6 responses to “Does Ask, Ask, and Ask Again Really Work?”

  1. Christopher Doyle says:

    You hit the nail on the head! You are right. And “right” is the key word. The right ask, at the right time, for the right amount, for the right project by the right person. But most agencies just want to hammer donors with mailing after mailing. The common response is, “well they all make money, don’t they”. Which of course is the wrong answer to the wrong question. Yes, direct mail donors need and want direct mail. But ask after ask just upsets many of those donors and eventually they vote no by not giving any more. The answer by most is: we have an attrition problem so let’s send them more mail so we don’t lose them! But that hurts rather than helps. Also, a healthy mix of “asks” and “reporting back” is the most beneficial way to communicate with donors and supporters.

  2. Dave Bonfilio says:

    I agree and disagree – you used the word “relationship” in your answer. That is the key word. How can I make an ask without knowing the prospect and why they might be interested. So I agree.
    Here is where I disagree. Too many folks in development walk away from a prospect when they get a “no”. Experienced professionals know that “no” can mean a number of things – timing, wrong project and, maybe, wrong organization. Experienced folks take the time to build that relationship and understand the prospect, but will ask again.

  3. Alison Keys says:

    Yes, any time you do not respect your donor is when you lose them. If you use the ask, ask, ask again formula just remember that your donor may not actually take the time to tell you they are displeased with your methods. Only when you get on the phone with donors, do you find out how they are feeling about you. Then you clearly see how you’re doing.

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