Monday, January 14, 2008

New column every Monday: "The Fundraising Guru"--Jan. 14, 2008

Asking: 5 Congitations
by Dr. Stephen L. Goldstein

Here are some thought-provoking cogitations on asking. It's so central to fundraising that too many people take it for granted. Ask yourself about asking. Compare what works--or has worked--for you:

1. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."--Matthew 7:7
Sure, right, believe it! This may work in a consciousness-raising weekend, but it's a dumb assumptiong in fundraising.

2. "In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman."--Margaret Thatcher
Maggie's sexism is probably on target in politics. But in fundraising, if you want anthing be sure you know who holds the purse-strings. You may be surprised who's say sways the day.

3. "Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want."--Joseph Wood Krutch
I've never had a cat, so I don't know the truth of this statement. But in principle, I'd have to say that successful fundraising don't just ask; they know precisely what they want.

4. "Ask the man who owns one"--Advertising slogan for Packard automobiles.
What great advice for fundraisers: Ask your current donors how to approach other donors; they are the perfect ones to tell you.

5. "O Jerry . . . Don't let's ask for the moon! We have the stars!"--Olive Higgins Prouty
What a perfect thought about being grateful for what we have: Our moon is some other galaxy's star. In fundraising, too many people say/think: "What have you done for us lately?" Perhaps, more people need appreciate what they've received before moving on.
Add your thoughts on asking to Stephen Goldstein's. Email comments and questions to him at