Ask if you are going to ask

The other day, an email appeared in my inbox, telling me all about a new hoopla. It told me why I was chosen (good), what it would give me (okay, but I would have preferred an impact or why it matters statement), and that they hoped to “see me there.”WHERE? What is it they are asking from me?

If I looked and read and reread this email enough, I might be able to intuit what they actually hoped I would do, but, frankly, I’m not about to do that. Mainly I just shrugged and then deleted the email.

If you want me to do something—ask me to do it. Straightforwardly and, preferably, with clear instructions on how to do it. And if it is going to cost money—whether a gift, a registration, a purchase—please, could you not be coy and make me click through several pages to find out how much? Honestly, you are not endearing me to you. And more than probably, I have clicked OUT of your site and you have been banished from my memory.

If you can’t figure out what this has to do with fundraising, you may be in the wrong job. Fundraising is all about asking, not just for money but asking people to get more involved with your organization than they already are.

And, just as I would recommend to the author of the aforementioned email, your asks should be specific and clear.

Janet Levine Consulting works to move nonprofits from mired to inspired.  Learn how at  While at the site, sign up for our free newsletter and do contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.