How many times have you managed to secure a one on one meeting with a potentially new and influential donor and was nervous about making the big ask? Maybe it was a fundraiser event in front of hundreds of people but you had no idea how to appeal to a large audience and to convince them to support your cause?
If you’re reading this article there is a good chance you’ve already read part one of “Making The Big Ask”, and you are now familiar with a successful formula. Understanding the three step formula that creates your big ask is extremely important. Your ask needs to consist of a problem, a potential solution, and how your potential donor can become that solution.
In part one, I also mentioned the importance of crafting your big ask to be as personal as possible. You need to be able to influence your potential donor to become emotionally involved with your mission. There is a good chance you’re involved in your mission because of the passion you have for it. Your passion is connected to all sorts of feelings, emotions, and experiences. Now given, most people are not going to be as passionate as you are about your cause, and that’s okay. But it’s important to know that most decisions are driven by emotion and not logic. One of your first goals should always be centered on getting people invested emotionally in what you are trying to accomplish.
Here is what you need to consider when using the three step formula for your big ask. I will break down each step and share with you key points that will help you in crafting a personal and emotional ask.
1. What does the world look like without your organization?
- A. In order to ask for anything, you must provide a reason why you’re asking. Your mission or cause has no purpose if there is no need. Build your case for the need.
- I would recommend finding a way to connect your potential donor to the need. Try to get them to see how the problem touches their life personally. Sometimes this might be a stretch to achieve and if you can’t, then utilize stories or testimonies that they can relate to personally. Try to get them to visualize themselves facing that particular need or problem. Get them to use their imagination to paint a picture in their mind.
- When building the case for your organization or cause it’s always important to use testimonies from real people. People connect and relate to people, not organizations or missions.
- Describe a scenario with little or no hope. You want your potential donor to feel the pain or despair because this will set you up for the second part of the big ask.
2. What does the world look like with your organization?
- This is the part where you start to bring hope back into the visualization. Once you have successfully made the case of a legitimate need, you need to start building the case of why your organization is the answer or solution.
- Using facts and statics are great, but they should never be the focus. Facts should only be the supporting evidence because you will never sell your organization or mission on facts alone. They should simply provide a logical reason that supports the emotional decision they are about to make.
- You should utilize more stories and personal testimonies that connect and include your organization to the newfound hope or solution. Remember, your organization should be the catalyst for this positive change. This is a great time to use testimonies of actual recipients who have been helped by you and your organization.
- Paint a picture of the possibilities; get your potential donor to visualize the future of what could be.
3. Provide the reason why someone’s involvement is the solution.
- Now that you’ve gotten the potential donor to see the need and the solution, now is the time to show him or her that the solution is only made possible with their involvement. Provide a reachable goal that is just shy of crossing the finish line. Illustrate to your donor that they are the key to achieving a goal.
- Encourage the potential donor that he or she will be able to see, hear, or touch the outcome they will be contributing to. Allow the potential donor to experience gratification for their involvement. Each donor should experience some kind of reward for being involved.
- Once you’ve made the case for the need, the solution, and their involvement, you can then proceed to ask for their support whether that be money or some kind of participation.
“Making The Big Ask” can seem intimidating but once you’ve mastered the formula above it becomes much easier. As horrible or disingenuous as this might sound, it is needed. Remember, we all got involved with our cause or mission because we are sincerely convinced that something must be done. Most of us involved in the non-profit sector have great hearts and good intentions but not everyone shares the same convictions. It’s because of this fact that we must channel our sincere heart and motives behind a formula that will help you win over hearts and minds for your mission.
Learning to sell your cause or mission should never be viewed as selling out. Everything still hinges on the passionate people who are dedicated to making a difference. Learning to better communicate and win hearts for your cause will help you change the world. No one can change the world by himself or herself; it takes an army of world changers and it all starts with you! Now that you’ve been fully equipped to “Make The Big Ask”, go out and make a difference!
Written by: Matt Moore, managing member of Heartland Direct Intl. and President of The Young Businessmen of Tulsa