7 Tips to Perfect Your Donation Ask



An in-person donation ask can be intimidating. The goal is to make your donors feel as comfortable and inspired as possible so they do the work for you by asking how to contribute to your cause! Here are a few suggestions to help take the awkwardness out of asking for money. 

1. Learn About Your Donor Base 

It is important to know as much about your typical donor as possible, so you know how to best ask them to give. If you have a younger audience it may be more appropriate to host an event at a bar and ask in a more casual tone. An older donor base may prefer a traditional fundraising event with a more structured ask. The better you know your donors, the more prepared you will be going into the initial conversation! 

2. Let The Donor Do the Talking 

I'm sure you know your nonprofit inside and out, and could talk about the cause for days! However, this is not the time to put yourself on center stage. Listening and asking genuine questions makes the donor feel more comfortable and allows them to open up. Then, you'll be able to identify the donor's connection to the cause and steer the conversation in the right direction!  

Check out this awesome mock conversation from Nonprofit Hub

Superman Fundraiser: “What’s the most important thing about the environment to you?”

Donor: “Well, I think environmental damage is a pretty big problem. We’re hurting the environment forever and we don’t even realize it!”

Superman Fundraiser: “How interesting!” [shuts up and looks genuinely interested]

Donor: [feels like he should talk because of the silence] “… yeah! It’s really crazy. In fact, the other day I was thinking about when I was a kid and would go out and look at the stars in the country and see meteors and all kinds of awesome stuff. But now that the city is so big, and there’s so much light pollution and smog, when I go out with MY kids to our cabin we’re lucky to see anything. It’s so sad.”

WOW. And you were about to start making a generic appeal about one of your programs, totally at random! Now you have so much material to work with, and know exactly the RIGHT program to talk about.

Your donor has practically sold themselves!

3. Fundraising Doesn't Have to be Serious 

People feel awkward about asking for money, which can lead them to take a more serious tone. In fact, fundraising is more effective when there's a positive spin! Celebrate the good your doing by creating a warm and happy environment. Check out this video and this video for some fun and creative ideas! 

4. Tailor The Ask to The specific Setting 

Although the basic principles remain the same, it is important to tailor your ask to the specific setting. Donation asks will vary depending on the event or venue. If you're at your nonprofit's own event, the cause is already spotlighted. This leaves you room to shift your focus towards relationship building. If you're at a conference, you will need to incorporate an elevator pitch so the donor knows exactly who or what you're supporting. 

5. Tell Them How Much to Give 

Once your donor feels inspired enough to give, it is important to make it easy for them to do so! Cut down on as much friction as possible by providing them with a suggested dollar amount. When providing multiple options, remember the goldilocks principle. Donors will favor the middle option because it is "just right!" 

6. Give Them Multiple Ways to Give

Once the donor decides to give, and has the perfect amount in mind, make it as easy and seamless as possible for them to hand over the donation! Make sure you are always able to accept cash, checks and credit/debit card donations. Also, include multiple locations and times to donate at the event; this will ensure no one misses the opportunity to give! 

7. Say Thank You! 

Once the donor gives, your work is not over! Make sure you communicate how much you appreciate their contribution. Genuinely thank them in person and continue the discussion, instead of dismissing them and moving along to the next donor. Let them know about future events and meetings so they feel a part of your nonprofit's family and continue to feel compelled to give. 


If you have more questions about nonprofit strategy, you can always reach out to the DipJar fundraising experts for help. It's what we love to do!