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From The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose (Jossey-Bass, 2006) by Laura Fredricks, Vice President for Philanthropy

I wanted to write a book that was very different from the current books, seminars, and conferences that address the Ask. I cannot tell you how many people, whose jobs are to raise substantial money as well as people whose primary jobs are not fundraising but who need to know how to ask people for money, ask me for the steps, the “magic ask words,” and the rules of persuasion to raise money. Well I’m here to tell you there are no asking amulets that will guide you through the Ask. Asking is loads of fun, it is all pure heart in loving what you do, who you do it for, and finding your own voice and style. It takes practice but before you know it you are in high gear to do several asks. Be careful, it can be addictive.

So what makes this book so unique? I thought long and hard on what I could write that would put the world of asking into perspective with a clear road map that anyone can follow. Yes you can teach someone how to ask. This book is one-stop shopping for anyone who wants to learn how to ask, needs to train others to do the Ask, or wants to perfect their own asking style. It will teach people with or without fundraising experience how to ask individuals in person for money for a local charity event or special project; for an enhanced annual gift; for a larger major gift; for a long-lasting planned legacy; and for a complex and challenging capital campaign gift. It is peppered with facing the practical challenges of addressing your own views on money before making an ask; learning how you can ask for money; learning how you can work in concert with others to do an ask; how and when you should or should not ask a friend for money; and knowing how many asks you can do within the time constraints of your job and your life. Perhaps the most practical, popular, and most needed section addresses all the responses you will get to the Ask. This can cause the asker to run, hide, duck for cover, freeze, change one’s profession, select a different volunteer position, or embrace the challenge in all its splendor. Have no fear, this book has myriad suggestions on how to listen, what to say, and how to follow up to each and every ask until you have a solid and definitive answer for each ask. No one book to date has included asking for all these fundraising areas to date. Well, now you have it.

On a final note, you will find my style of writing is very conversational. I find that if you are engaged and entertained, you will learn more. Besides who wants to read a “dry” book on the Ask? I hope you will remember the stories and examples you are about to read, and share them with your colleagues and friends. Above all, I hope that you smile along as you read and when you finish the book that you feel confident, a bit nervous, but very willing to ask with confidence and conviction because you believe in yourself and your cause


fund raising, philanthropy