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Strategic Thinking IV: Preparing for “the Ask”

Next step in our Development progression for our Nonprofit Organization is to prepare to Ask for the Gift.

We’ve focused on the importance of Strategic Thinking for the Board. And application of this approach to the Fundraising direction our Nonprofit will take. Now we’ll jump to asking for the gift.

This post comes in January, the month after most nonprofits have conducted their Annual Appeal. So our donor base has heard from us, and many have responded with their annual gift. and if we’re well organized, we’re preparing a follow up appeal to non-responders, asking them to consider us now. And just maybe you donors who missed you in the fall will reconsider now and make that gift to help you achieve your Mission. We won’t know unless we ask.

There should be a next step in place…beyond the Stewardship part of thanking our donors who make their gifts.

And that next step might be a mid-year appeal to come in May-June. Or, it might be a special project that we’d like our supporters to consider. And this time, we want to expand the group who get a personal visit as part of this ask. And we want Board members and other volunteers to make these calls…these personal visits…to obtain support.

Board members according to Kay Sprinkel Grace, fall into one of three categories. All are Ambassadors who think to speak up about this Nonprofit when they’re out with friends, at work, or at Rotary. Some are Advocates who are comfortable speaking at public hearings, presenting about the Mission at Foundation meetings, testifying on regulation proposals that impact our primary customers before governmental agencies. And then there are Askers: Those who feel good about giving, and feel good about asking others to give. These are the leaders who see the value this Nonprofit delivers an welcome the opportunity to seek support. Face to face. Not all Board members feel this way; but each year leaders work to increase the group who feel good about being Askers.

So this is the time to prepare for what’s ahead in the coming months. It may be the annual mid-year appeal. It may be a special campaign for a special purpose. Whatever the purpose, we’re preparing now for that process to get underway. And that’s the crux of this phase of Strategic Thinking.

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