Asking: A 59-Minute Guide

Asking: A 59-Minute Guide to Everything Board Members, Volunteers and Staff Must Know to Secure the Gift
by Jerold Panas

The book’s twenty-five chapters are only about three pages each, and cover topics such as “Great Opportunity Stands in Front of You, In the Form of Objections,” “Thanks for Being a Friend,” and “You Won’t Get Milk From a Cow by Sending a Letter.” Some of the advice is a little hokey and artfully cute, but it’s all based on solid experience and it will work.

The appendices are almost as valuable as the rest of the book. They include sample letters to donors and prospects, how to deal with a prospective donor’s objections to making a gift, a side-by-side list of differences between annual giving and major gifts, and rough guidelines for prospecting donors for each type of gift.

Objections are the stated reasons why a prospect is hesitant about making a gift. Objections aren’t “no”; they are the last hurdles to saying “yes.” One technique described in the book is the “feel, felt, found” approach to overcoming objections. Identifying with the prospect’s objection (“feel”), placing it in the past tense (“felt”), by demonstrating how others were able to overcome that objection (“found”) is a powerful way to move the prospect toward making the desired gift.

The mix of techniques, hard information, and empowering inspiration makes this book valuable for professional as well as volunteer fund raisers. As I read it, I thought of several friends and colleagues (like you) who would appreciate its lessons, and I’m sure you will, too.