Print this page Share

The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose

ISBN: 978-0-7879-8372-7
250 pages
February 2006, Jossey-Bass
The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose (0787983721) cover image


The Ask is a complete resource for teaching anyone—experienced in fundraising or not—how to ask individuals, in person, for a contribution to for a local nonprofit or a special event or community project, an enhanced annual gift, a major or planned gift, or a challenging capital campaign gift. Written by fundraising expert Laura Fredricks, The Ask shows what it takes to prepare yourself and others to make an effective ask and includes over one hundred sample dialogues you can use and adapt. Step by step, the book reveals how to listen, what to say, and how to follow up on each and every ask until you receive a solid and definitive answer. In addition, The Ask covers such topics as how to
  • Examine your views on money before making an ask
  • Learn the ins and outs of asking for money
  • Work with others to make an ask
  • Determine if you should or should not ask a friend, colleague, or peer for money
  • Figure out how many asks you can do given your time constraints
  • Deal effectively with all the responses you will get to an ask
See More

Table of Contents

Foreword (Susan Earl Hosbach, Jon M. Wagner, Andrea McManus).




1. Hesitating to Ask for Money.

What Fears May Prevent or Postpone the Ask?

Knowing the Prospect Well Before Making the Ask.

Giving Is the Greatest Gift of All.

Every Organization Has Its Own Sparkle and Is Deserving of a Gift.

Knowing the Organization Inside and Out.

Asking Must Be Done in Person.

Saying No to the Gift Is Not Saying No to You.


Looking Ahead.

2. Judging the Prospect’s Readiness for the Ask.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls When Judging Readiness.

The Readiness Profile.

The Readiness Formula.

The Match.

The Pre-Ask Conversation.

Unrestricted Gifts Are Our Friends.

Asking for Money on the First Visit.


Looking Ahead.

3. Selecting the Right Person or Team to Do the Ask.

Determining Your Pool of Potential Askers.

Characteristics of a Good Asker.

Determining When One Asker Can Conduct an Ask.

Using the Team Approach.


Looking Ahead.

4. Preparing for the Ask.

The Right Tone for the Ask.

The Review Prior to the Ask.

The Script for Each Ask.


Looking Ahead.

5. Asking for Special Event or Community Project Gifts and Increased Annual Gifts.

The Ask for a Special Event or Community Project.

The Ask for the Enhanced Annual Gift.


Looking Ahead.

6. Asking for Major Gifts.

Defining a Major Gift.

Defining Major Gift Prospects.

Essentials of Any Major Gifts Program.

Major Gift Asks.


Looking Ahead.

7. Asking for Planned Gifts.

The Importance of Planned Gifts for the Organization.

The Importance of Planned Gifts for Donors.

Planned Giving Donor Profiles.

The Planned Giver Prospect Pool.

Planned Giving Program Prerequisites.

Coordinating the Planned Giving Program with All Fundraising Programs.

Building a Planned Giving Program.

Marketing a Planned Giving Program.

Asking for Planned Gifts.


Looking Ahead.

8. Asking for Complex and Challenging Capital Campaign Gifts.

Defining the Capital Campaign.

Phases of the Campaign.

Defining Campaign Gifts and Prospects.

Preparing Campaign Materials to Use During the Ask.

Asking for Campaign Gifts.


Looking Ahead.

9. Addressing the Prospect’s Response to the Ask.

Preparing for the Prospect’s Response.

Responding to the Prospect’s Concerns.

Analyzing the Responses to the Prospect’s Concerns.


Looking Ahead.

10. Following Through with Each Ask.

The Next Steps After Each Ask.

How to Juggle and Balance Time After Each Ask.

The Ten Guiding Principles for Any Ask.

Resource A: Sources for Fundraising Software.

Resource B: Prospect Research Providers and Web Sites.

Resource C: AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice.

Resource D: Thank-You Letter After the Ask.

Resource E: Notification of Bequest.

Resource F: Sample Prospect Materials for a Charitable Gift Annuity.

Resource G: Sample Prospect Materials for a Charitable Remainder Unitrust.

Resource H: Sample Capital Campaign Marketing Materials.


The Author.

See More

Author Information

Laura Fredricks is vice president for philanthropy at Pace University in New York City. She is the author of Developing Major Gifts.
See More

New to This Edition

  • PROVEN WINNING SUBJECT: Fundraising books are among JB/Wiley's most consistent sellers.
  • STRONG AUTHOR: Fredricks is well-respected in the fundraising community and is well-connected to many important professional groups (CASE, 38,000 names; AFP, 26,000 names, etc.) whom she'll approach to promote the book. This is her first book for a wider trade audience. She's an active, charismatic speaker who trains and teaches frequently on the subject of personal solicitation (to 3,000+ people per year).
  • CRITICAL SKILL SET: All fundraisers must master the critical skill of personal soliciation.  This book shows how.
  • TIPS and TOOLS: Includes sample scripts, tips on handling rejection, model action plans to help readers get organized and assess results, and more!
See More


"If you ever thought it was difficult or uncomfortable to ask for money, think again. This book empowers you to go out and do it again and again."
--Rachel Wawn, development manager, The Healing Foundation, London, England

"The Ask is a commonsense approach on how to ask anyone for money. It will enhance the skills of countless people around the country who need to ask for money so that philanthropy will grow immeasurably."
--John Burke, director of major gifts, The Passionist Missionaries, Union City, New Jersey

"Asking people for money is one of the most difficult ‘sales’ we can make, and no matter how noble the cause, having the right tools at our disposal can make the difference. This book provides all the tools necessary to complete the ‘sale.’"
--James Duffy, CFO and executive vice president, Vertrue Inc., Stamford, Connecticut

"Most of us, when put in a position to ask for a contribution for a worthy purpose, are uncomfortable making the approach. But when someone requests a donation from us, we do not think any less of them for asking. Insights offered here will help the reader bridge this gap and confidently ask the next time."
--Michael O’Reilly, vice chairman, The Chubb Corporation, Warren, New Jersey

"ASK and you shall receive. Get this book and you will be prepared for ANY ask, no matter the size or cause. It's the ‘go-to’ book for truly effective fundraisers. ASK for it today!"
--Sarah Holland, president, The Visibility Project, New York, New York

"With over one hundred sample dialogues, you can't afford not to buy this book!"
--William Bartolini, vice president for development, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts

See More
Back to Top