Make an appointment to ask for the money face-to-face.

  • Solicit gifts in a thoughtful manner, not casually.
  • Do not solicit by phone or letter if you are asking for a significant gift.

Prepare your case, briefly and to the point.

  • Know as much about the prospect as possible.  see Donor Profile Template (PDF)
  • Be clear about the amount of money you are requesting.
  • Have a personalized letter with you that asks for a specific amount or range, a pledge form, and select support materials for the fund or the organization.
    see sample Pledge Form (PDF)

Be confident and positive

  • You are not begging; you are sharing an opportunity to enhance your organization and to satisfy the prospect’s need.

Focus on the prospect’s needs, not your own.

  • Successful fundraising speaks as much to the needs of the donor as it does to the needs of the arts organization.

Ask for a specific amount of money.

  • Near the beginning of the visit.
  • Mention the opportunity – focus on the need or goal you believe will be most interesting to your prospect (based on your research) and let your prospect know you researched him/her—it\’s flattering.
  • Lead with your strongest opportunity. Don\’t mention others unless they turn this one down.

Do not fill the silence after you make the request.

  • Give the prospect a chance to respond and then continue based on the response.
  • Involve the potential donor in the development and creation of the ideal proposal so the donor is emotionally involved in its success.

You can mention that the amount requested may be high or low.

  • It is only a suggestion.
  • Only the prospect knows the appropriate gift level.

Say “thank you” and follow up with a thank-you letter.

  • Even if the prospect turns you down.
  • In fact, thank donors every time you can.
  • Saying thank you gives you the right to ask again.

Involve the donor in the organization and follow through to make the contribution an annual gift.

Adapted from the Arts Extension Services
Fundamentals of Local Arts Management