What’s Wrong with “Ask > Thank > Report > Repeat”

Old Way or New WayMy pal Steven Screen is one of the best fundraising copywriters in the U.S. Seriously! He and his friend Jeff Brooks have a great podcast called Fundraising Is Beautiful. You might want to check it out.
One of the things they like to promote is their rule of thumb for effective fundraising:

Ask > Thank > Report > Repeat

I like this concept. It’s smart! We all know that too many nonprofits just “”Ask > Ask > Ask.  So, “Ask > Thank > Report > Repeat” is much better. But I think it’s missing one very important additional element— ENGAGEMENT! Therefore, I think the following works better:

Engage > Ask > Thank > Report > Repeat

Valuable engagement opportunities will involve your supporters on a deep, emotional level. 
Here are just a few ideas to show you what I mean. You can provide:

  • Offers to get involved (such as a chance to volunteer)
  • Offers to participate in events (such as walks, rides, golf outings, galas)
  • Offers to take a tour (of a hospital, for instance)
  • Offers to watch a video
  • Offers to download an eBook or infographic
  • Offers to send a letter to Congress (for advocacy)
  • Offers that give supporters a chance to tell their story (so they can explain why they care)
  • Offers that give supporters a chance to give you their feedback (via a donor survey)
  • Offers that give supporters a chance to meet you, your staff, your volunteers, or your leadership (face-to-face, via a webinar or a Google Hangout)
  • And others offers…  the list is endless

Sadly, most fundraising is absent meaningful engagement because it’s time-consuming.
But, nowadays you can leverage technology to provide fantastic one-to-many engagements. Without engagement, your relationship with your supporters will focus more on the transaction. Engagement will bring the transactional nature of donating up a level— to a serious, emotional relationship.
What do you think?


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9 years ago

So true! Great advice.

7 years ago

The examples you provide are all offers – which are all other “asks” we would be making to donors and non-donors alike. An “ask” is usually for a monetary gift, but it doesn’t have to be! This post more adequately describes how you can engage your donors with unique asks that aren’t always about money!

7 years ago
Reply to  Morgyn-Britney

Indeed! That’s “Engagement Fundraising!” Thanks for engaging with me!!


[…] we follow what I refer to as the MarketSmart Rule because I first saw it spelled out this way on Greg Warner’s blog: Before soliciting them again, […]

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