Helping your Board make the “Ask”


Robin Noah

One of the most unpopular activities for nonprofit board members is “The Ask”. Even if an organization has defined fund raising responsibilities for board members it is not a guarantee that the board members will actively do fundraising. Asking for donations is not a comfortable thing to do for most people.  


So the question is why and what can be done to improve the situation. Even if training is provided the likely hood that a major turnaround is experienced can be disappointing. The fact is that some people are never going to be comfortable with the concept of fundraising no matter how well they have been trained. However, when the training focuses on the 3 keys for enhancing fund raising success there is a greater level of success. The 3 keys are: 1) Immerse the mission into all fundraisings activities, 2) approach the ask as an appeal for the continuance of the mission, and 3) explain, specifically, how the contribution will impact the mission.  

Also having a good case statement that clearly expresses the value of the mission will be more effective and have more responsive donors. 

Often associating the mission with a question or comment that relates to the individual gaining a benefit from the service(s) offered connects donors with what matters to them the most.  

All board members need to be able to share some good news or a story that is an example of great outcomes from their programs and to share what the current funding gap is in either a specific program and/or for the agency overall. Be prepared to discuss: 

  • The current funding gap? 
  • What the organization would do with more money or members Great time to tell stories with human interest 
  • The call to action 

In the final analysis fund raising is successful when the mission is embraced and is a natural part of conversations that have to do with the growth and development of the organization.

Author: Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,