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December 3, 2021
Preparing Your Board to Raise Funds
Board members and volunteers often want to help nonprofits raise money but are not properly schooled in the art of the ask. Solicitation training must be conducted with the goal of removing fear from the fundraising process.

By educating the board and volunteers in the art of the ask, nonprofits can boost morale, provide volunteers with needed skills and build a cohesive bond between the volunteer and the organization, explained Linda Lysakowski in her book, Nonprofit Essentials #147; Recruiting and Training Fundraising Volunteers.

According to Lysakowski, the following items should be covered during the solicitation training session:
  • Volunteers must always make their own gifts first.
  • The volunteer solicitation team should be chosen carefully.
  • Volunteers must have the ability to articulate the case.
  • Volunteers will be given donor history and other relevant information.
  • The solicitation team should rehearse as well as be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Always have a targeted ask amount in mind for each prospect who will be visited.
  • The most difficult part of the ask is setting the appointment.
  • Be prepared to share with the donor that you have already made a gift yourself.
  • Be prepared to answer questions the prospect might have or get back to them if you cannot provide the answers on the spot.
  • Once the case has been explained and a level of interest has been determined, it’s usually time to make the ask.
  • Always ask for a specific amount of money.
  • Volunteers should remain quiet once the ask is on the table.
  • Be prepared for the fact that the prospect might not be ready to make an immediate decision at the time of the first ask.
  • Do not simply leave a pledge card to be completed and returned by the prospect.
  • Always follow up on your prospect visits.

Republished with permission from the June 1, 2006, issue of the The Nonprofit Times.
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