After Trust, Comes the Ask

Presenting the case for support

“How exactly should you or your ministry representative actually go about presenting the organization’s case to a donor and asking for the donation? After years of working with major donors, we have come to believe strongly in a four-phase approach to major donors: acknowledgment, trust building, presenting the case for support, and the ask. The sequence is important. Most significantly, these phases keep the donor’s needs, interests, and values in view at all times. Phase 3: presenting the case for support. The recognition of a donor’s trust is a strong signal that he is ready to receive a presentation of the case for support of my ministry. Many ministry representatives want a strict formula for this, but the nature of the presentation must grow out of your understanding of the individual donor’s learning style. You need to have a wide range of materials and types of presentations at your disposal so that you can communicate effectively regardless of an individual donor’s specific ‘wiring.’ How does this individual instinctively prefer to receive information? You have to stay flexible so you can communicate on the donor’s unique wavelength. Present the case for support in a style that enables the specific donor, with his learning style, to say, ‘I get that!’ Some donors prefer to receive digitized videos via email. Some prefer to have a casual conversation over lunch. Some will only do this by phone. Some prefer to be buried in audit numbers and information. The message must come through in a medium that makes sense to the donor.”

* Like what you just read and want to learn more? Check out, Donors Are People Too: Managing Relationships With Your Ministry’s Major Contributors.


About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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