Most helpful positive review
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A much needed book to aid in the process of training volunteers in the fundraising process.
on September 14, 2006
Asking (soliciting) people for money can be a stressful or challenging endeavor. But, you know, so is just about everything we do the first time. And how do we learn to do something the first time? Someone teaches us either verbally or by way of writing a book. This book does a wonderful job of explaining "The Ask" part of not-for-profit fundraising in its 10 chapters:
1. Soliciting Money Usually Causes Jitters
2. Prospect Research and Evaluating a Prospective Donor for Gift-Giving Readiness
3. Who Should Do the Ask?
4. How to Prepare for an Ask
5. Asking for Non-Major Gifts
6. Asking for Major Gifts in Annual Campaign Setting
7. Asking for Planned Gifts (Deferred Gifts)
8. Asking for Major Gifts in Capital Campaign Setting
9. How to Respond to Prospective Donor after Making the Ask
10. Follow-Up for Each Ask
The author is certainly qualified to write the book. She has a number of years experience working in a major gift setting for a well established university in New York. It surprised me when I stumbled across this book in the bookstore that there was enough material on the subject to actually write this book. But apparently there is more than enough to talk about on the subject. I probably would have titled the book "Soliciting Major Gifts" instead of The Ask. But then I would not have included Chapter 5 either.
Let's face it, face-to-face gift solicitation is predominantly a major gift thing. There might be some face-to-face gift solicitation of donors for sizeable (but not major) gifts, but for the most part that is the exception not the rule. Major gifts as I know them are $10,000 and up. Many are six figures! Now that is something to get jittery over.
I would have liked the book better if it had not been as wordy as it was. Instead of providing the chapter titles in this review as they were written in the book I changed them a bit. I think my titles explain the contents of the book better. I also found the list of TEN (10) basic categories of responses to an ask included in the book to be way too long. I'm familiar with there being just four: (1) Yes I will give, (2) No I won't give, (3) That's too much, and (4) Let me think about it and get back to you. And there was some overlap of "guiding principles" included at page 213 of the book - so I think there could have been fewer principles included in that list.
I have a feeling this book will get its most use from board members of nonprofits and leadership teams heading up capital campaigns at nonprofits. It is my understanding that most people involved in major gift solicitations at the big nonprofits (schools and hospitals) already have a system in place for helping major gift solicitors feel at ease doing an ask and doing it well. In fact, this book is probably a public version of one of those schools' in-house guides. 5 stars!