10/19 #fundchat: “Getting Ready to Ask for a Big Gift”

Getting Ready to Ask for a Big GiftREAD the transcript (Now available!)

Last month, Tony Martignetti of #nonprofitradio fame, was featured on The Chronicle of Philanthropy website. His podcast, “Getting Ready to Ask for a Big Gift,” raised important issues and insights into this critical topic:

“For any nonprofit, success means preparing volunteers, board members, and fund raisers alike to ask for big gifts. How much should solicitors talk, and when should they listen? What steps can an organization do to prepare the prospect beforehand?”

Join the #fundchat community on Wednesday, October 19 at 12 p.m. EDT for a lively conversation on the topic of preparing for the big ask. If you are a #fundchat newbie, no worries…we’ve got you covered right here.

What can you do to help?

  1. Share your ideas for questions for this #fundchat topic by sharing them in the comments section below.
  2. Take a listen to Tony Martignetti’s podcast that inspired this edition of #fundchat!
  3. Spread the word about the 10/19 #fundchat by sharing on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.
  4. RSVP for this event via the #fundchat Facebook page.

You can keep the conversation rolling between #fundchat sessions by connecting with tweeps on the #fundchat Facebook page!

Brendan Kinney, moderator of #fundchat 


4 Comments on “10/19 #fundchat: “Getting Ready to Ask for a Big Gift””

  1. Plan to make as much of Fundchat as a phone meeting allows. Meantime, some questions (and, Brendan, please feel free to pick and choose as needed):

    1. What has been the biggest challenge for you personally in asking — and how did you overcome it?

    2. Boards and volunteers often ask for training on asking. What’s the best way to train them?

    3. What would you want to see (or not see) if someone were asking you for whatever gift would be “major” in your budget?

    4. When you think about the amount you’re asking for, do you try to imagine how the prospect will view this amount in the context of his/her net worth? How do you do this?

    • BK says:


      The issue of ask amounts is critical. What do you think of the logic behind: “Aim high, you can always go lower, but you can never go higher.”

      – Brendan

      • Brendan: Another good question. I think this advice is useful to a degree — but only in context. Aiming high is relative, and it needs to be done in the context of everything you know about the donor. Also in context of a long-term relationship: Presumably, this is just one in a series of gifts. Hope to see you in a few minutes — still awaiting my 11 a.m. call.

  2. BK says:

    After listening to the podcast, I came away with the following questions:

    1. What factors do you consider when trying to decide if you ask for a gift in person, via letter, phone or email?
    2. Who should do the asking from an organization?
    3. How do you prepare the _prospect_ for a big ask?
    4. What do you do to get your game face on as you head into a meeting to ask a donor for a big gift?
    5. If you are a major gift officer, how many are in your prospect pool and how many are you actively working with at any given time?
    6. How much truth is there to the idea that if you have properly managed a prospect, the actual ask is the easiest part?
    7. Do volunteers in your org solicit gifts? How do you manage and train volunteers to handle this critical task?

    What do you think?

    – Brendan

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