Nonprofit Fundraising

Fundraising Tip — Don’t Fear the Ask

Asking a donor for a donation is what we do, and is what they want us to do.

Dan Hanley
3 min readMay 30, 2023

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Author on a hike. Photo credit: Author

I’m attending a nonprofit conference on planned giving and am super excited for it! I have had the chance to meet with former colleagues and the topic of fundraising professionals fearing the ask, asking a donor for a donation, came up as still being an issue in nonprofit fundraising.

I smiled while listening to this topic. It brought me back to my first major ask in the world of nonprofit fundraising. I had just begun as director of development and began looking at past donors. I created a list of donors to call and introduce myself to, including some who had not donated in over a year.

This was the case with what we call a lapsed donor. The last donation was more than two years past, and the size of the donation was in the top ten of our our annual donations. I knew I had to call them, and was petrified! New to nonprofit fundraising and new to making a direct ask. I wasn’t new to the mission, I was new to passion and I wasn’t new to building relationships. These all helped.

Rather than put this particular call off for another day, I decided to make the call. First, I called a fundraising peer and talked through the…

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Dan Hanley

I write about nonprofits, fundraising, recruiting, self-care. Human rights, domestic violence, borders, and refugee focused. Sober. Vegan. https://altrui.org/