The Art of the Ask: How to Get the Full Amount from Your Donors


We’ve all been there.

You’re in the visit.

You’ve been planning this for months.

It’s finally time to ask Bob for the $100,000 gift!

The only problem…

Halfway through the visit, Bob blurts out, “I decided today I’m going to give you $10,000!”


In all seriousness, what do you do in a situation like this?

The comfortable, yet disappointing road is to simply say, “Thanks, Bob.”

But you know he could give a lot more, so here’s a better approach.

Of course, thank Bob, but then say this:

“Bob, we’ve actually got a significant opportunity going on right now that I was hoping to discuss with you. Would it be alright if I told you about it?”

Usually, Bob will say yes.

Once this happens, just regroup, share what you were originally going to share, and ask for the full amount.

I have done this every time a donor has beaten me to the ask.

No one has ever gotten upset.

They have all given more than they originally planned.

When you find yourself wanting to have a potentially awkward conversation with a donor, don’t just avoid it.

Ask for permission to have the conversation.

If they say no, great!

Unnecessary, awkward conversation avoided.

If they yes, fantastic!

When you ask for permission, you have much more productive conversations.


Kevin Fitzpatrick is the owner of One Visit Away, a consulting business helping leaders of nonprofits schedule more and better visits with their benefactors.  Kevin’s goal is to help fundraising professionals constantly seek to deepen their relationships with their benefactors.  After all, you’re just One Visit Away from growing your mission and your impact.  


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