Very often I am asked to present and speak about the importance of the mission appeal. I do this often
enough I felt encouraged to create a resource document to share with fundraising professionals to refer to
when planning their special ask. So instead of an article style submission this month, I decided to include the
most often asked questions and suggestions on how to prepare for your events ASK.
What have you seen are some of the core elements to success? Any tips to avoid?
o Storytelling-authentic and genuine
o Tug at emotional heart strings of the donors
o Create a compelling case of support for an on-going need
o Explanation of impact of donation
o Report in a timely manner with a message of thanks
o Lead gifts secured prior to day of event
o Facts, Stats, Figures—organizational messaging
o Long presentations and reporting (any message over 4 mins is considered long)
Recommendations on coaching your speaker or the use of videos. Can you share any advice for setting
the stage story telling with video?
o Professional Videographer
o 20-30 minutes of content, condensed to 2-4 minutes
o Create a narrative arc, the hero’s journey (calm intro, build to a climax, slide into a
o Remember who the target audience is Keep your donors in mind (passions, motivations)
o Plot (story u want to tell), Purpose (what do you want to achieve), People (we serve)
Place/setting (location & background influence the story)
o Emotional Appeal (choose which emotion and stick with it)
o Show don’t tell. Let your images be what leads the journey
o Short and Sweet (2-4 minutes)
Best practice teaches to have 50% of your mission appeal confirmed in pre-committed gifts before heading
into the room. How have you seen this played out with overall giving?
o Exponential Giving occurs when pre-committed/lead gifts are secured
o Sets the stage and creates a giving environment
o Inspires and compels others to give (especially guests)
o Creates momentum and opportunities to celebrate giving
o Results: 30-50% participation w/o pre-commits; 60-80% w confirmed giving
We know that warming the room in advance of the event has a direct correlation to giving in the room.
What are some examples you have seen done well?
o Distinct fundraising/mission messaging in all marketing collateral
o Leadership involvement and prep
o Target Audiences—Social/Business networks; Like Minds/Hearts, Linkage Ability Interest
o Communication strategies: Major donors, sponsors, committees, table Captains
o Peer to Peer asks
o Equip for success (20 second pitch)
Is there anything creative you have seen done that stands out to drive revenue?
o Paddle Drop—Key here is to incentivize giving at the last level for greater participation
Tell me about matches. Why are these so important? And how have you see these executed the best?
o Prefer Challenges
o Used strategically at the right time in the right place
o Levels to increase participation and break it down
o Large matches –break up into lead gifts and challenges
Overall steps to success, what are they?
o Create a culture of philanthropy where everyone understands your case for support
o Donor Centric Fundraising—Donors values, motivations, and passions
o Cultivation– start new relations, deepen existing
o Stewardship- always steward every gift regardless of size in a multi-touch fashion
o Invest is a professionally trained fundraising host and auctioneer
As this is presented in bullet point responses, I am happy to discuss in detail any or all of the included and how to best use
these strategies to maximize your paddle raise.