There are many important elements to an appeal. One that is absolutely indispensable is the ask. Yet all too often the ask is delayed or diminished, as if it’s a source of embarrassment. Asks are sometimes removed from appeals or shoved to the bottom.
I was reminded of this reality in a blog post at 101FUNDRAISING titled “The seven deadly sins of fundraising appeals–and how to avoid them.”
“This is a fundraising appeal, not a magazine article or a short story, so get to the point and do it quickly,” says 101FUNDRAISING, and also commenting “include your ask early–the earlier the better.”
This is good advice. The goal of an appeal is a gift. You MUST ask for it.
How many asks? That depends. My rule of thumb for a one-page appeal is three asks. Two of them are “soft” asks. Here’s an example from a recent appeal I wrote:
I heartily thank you for your past giving and ask that you renew your support ….
This soft ask was in the first two lines of the message. Did you notice how I combined an ask with a thank you?
And, of course, there must be one hard ask. For example:
Please make your next gift in the amount of $_____, $_____, or $_____. Take a moment right now to mail a check in the enclosed reply envelope or make a gift online ….
Another soft ask or two can come at the end of the appeal or in the P.S.
Don’t be shy. Remember to ask early and ask often. Keep asking and you’re bound to receive.
[Read a letter from the University of Delaware that tells how I helped increase giving by nearly 30%.]