The Importance of Knowing Your Fundraising Asking Style
Today’s guest blog post is written by Dana Phillips, Implementation Specialist, PatronManager.
I’m writing today with some powerful insights on the art of asking, and how to use your “asking style” to increase your fundraising potential. I am an alumna of the University of Georgia’s Nonprofit Management Graduate Program where one of my main focuses was fund development. I had the pleasure of working with some amazing development professionals who totally changed the way I thought about fundraising.
One of the key things to understand about soliciting donations is that your personality plays a big role in how you go about asking for a donation. Brian Saber and Andrea Kihlstedt founded Asking Matters after years of working in the development world. They came up with a unique assessment that will assist you in understanding your solicitation style. Once you know what your style is, as well as the styles of the other members of your development team, you can begin to play to each other’s strengths and really hone in on a robust development strategy.
You can take the free quiz now on Asking Matters! Your results will place you in one of four categories:
Analytic Extrovert (Rainmaker) — This style means you can fearlessly ask anyone for a donation and you are passionate about building and maintaining strong relationships. You are extremely goal oriented and thrive on making educated decisions.
Intuitive Extrovert (Go-Getter) — This style means you act on instinct when forming relationships with potential donors. Individuals who fall into this style are magnetic; people are drawn to their natural passion and friendliness.
Analytic Introvert (Mission Controller) — This style means you prefer to have a wealth of information handy so that you can be well prepared and informed. You tend to make sure that all of the details are squared away, and everything is clearly defined before making an ask.
Intuitive Introvert (Kindred Spirit) — This style means you rely heavily on intuition and have a deep passion for the organization or cause. You do your best in one-on-one situations and truly believe in helping people.
Every Development department is made up of individuals who fall into one of these four categories. You’ll discover that it is extremely beneficial to work with someone who has an asking style that is opposite of your own. You can structure fundraising events, solicitations, and campaigns around these styles. Obviously, someone who is an Intuitive Introvert wouldn’t do well at a large event or making back-to-back phone calls asking for donations, while an Intuitive Extrovert would have no problem talking to large crowds about the difference your organization is making.
Knowing these styles can also increase efficiency in your development department as you delegate staff to the various aspects of donor cultivation and donor prospecting. An Analytic Introvert would be great at doing the research to determine potential major donors and could work with an Analytic Extrovert to formulate a plan to ask for a major gift.
Asking is one of the hardest parts of fundraising because no one likes to hear no. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and ask for a major gift. Amanda Palmer said it best, “From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us — it’s what lies beneath, the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak.”
Knowing your asking style can be the first step in helping you get over that fear and be more authentic and comfortable when soliciting funds. Mastering the art of asking can increase the depths of the relationships that you and your organization have with your donors.