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What's Your Asking Style?

Jul 24, 2013

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Identify your "fundraising style" so you can ask for donations comfortably. Learn how this process can help your org develop an "asking culture" and why this is important to successful fundraising, from consultants and authors Andrea Kihlstedt and Karla Williams.


* An organization's leader must lead the organizational culture for it to be practiced throughout the organization.

* Everyone, no matter what their personality can be an effective asker! Once people understand that fundraising isn’t begging but is inspiring people to give through stories and passion for the cause, they are usually happy to help.

* Staff, board members, even volunteers can take the Asking Style Assessment, then discuss who fits where. Combine different asking styles into a team that prepares for and does requests.

* For executive directors/board members who are reluctant fundraisers: Play to their strengths and asking styles. Give them 1-2 things to do at a time. Work with them closely. Highlight everything good that they do. Talk with them about what their roles might be. Don't force them to be what they are not.

* Small nonprofits with little/no staff will raise more money if they focus attention on building relationships with people. Get to know donors well enough so you find out what they want to do, and then help them do it. Ultimately, every cultivation activity is to find out what in their values and interests overlaps with your organization, where you have common ground.

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Andrea Kihlstedt

"The more program staff understand fundraising, the better. They see and feel outcomes immediately. They have wonderful stories to tell that inspire others to give. They are an underused resource in fundraising."

Andrea Kihlstedt, cofounder of Asking Matters, is well known as a writer, coach and trainer in fundraising. Over the past 28 years, her clients have ranged from tiny start-up organizations to large national institutions. She hasguided and goaded each of them to create the culture and context that will inspire people to ask. Her clients have often succeeded in raising more money than they had thought possible. Her newest book is Asking Styles: Harness Your Personal Fundraising Power.

Karla Williams

"If we understand how things were shaped, by whom, and to whom we are now speaking, we will be more thoughtful and relevant in our asking styles."

Karla Williams is an organizational consultant with more than 35 years of professional nonprofit experience. During the past 15 years her firm, The Williams Group, has worked with over 200 nonprofit organizations across the country assessing their potential for civic engagement, creating innovative programs, and recruiting talented people for key positions. Her newest book is Leading the Fundraising Charge: The Role of the Nonprofit Executive.

Both books are available for use and/or borrowing in Foundation Center libraries.

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