Fundraising simplified - the real approach to asking for a gift.
Ask Without Fear: A simple guide to connecting donors with what matters to them most by Marc A. Pitman.
Reviewed for SOFII by Joanne Fritz.
I currently have a love for small, easy-to-read, even ‘sassy’ books. And I have just found another one, Ask Without Fear: A Simple Guide to Connecting Donors With What Matters To Them Most, by Marc A. Pitman (2008, Executive Books). Pitman is a fundraising consultant and maestro of FundraisingCoach.com.
I like that Pitman is applying the coaching paradigm to fundraising. I think he means it in the sports sense, as a baseball coach, for instance. But I like to think of him as a therapy coach as well. I’m pretty sure that we can all use some ‘counselling’ when asking for a big gift, probably one of the things most feared by people, right up there with public speaking and snake handling.
I have no doubt that Pitman can coach the most timid and fearful fundraising staff member or nonprofit board member through their first contacts and on to ultimate success. He will do this through both motivation and instruction in some basic skills.
Pitman’s book is quick and precise. He has developed what he calls his R.E.A.L. process to guide us through the fundraising cycle; R.E.A.L. represents research, engage, ask and love. Follow the process, rinse and repeat.
Pitman’s book is full of small but surprisingly meaningful suggestions, such as using a blue pen for your thank-you notes so they look more as if they are written by hand; thanking people at least seven times before asking them to give again. And looking for the unusual in your research about a prospect, such as a book review he or she has written or that they belong to a particular club.
The meat of the book lies in Pitman’s discussion of the seven fundraising myths. These are not only useful, they are entertaining as he uses stories, humorous anecdotes and great tips to illustrate his points.
Here is a truncated version of Pitman’s fundraising myths (I don’t want to give too much away after all):
These points are simple but so profound. I love that Pitman simplifies major gift fundraising so that it doesn’t seem so scary. After reading this fine little book, we might all say, ‘Hey, I can do that’.
* Mickey D’s is a slang term for the fast-food chain McDonald’s.
** Cheez-its are American food crackers.
*** A children’s book by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, published in 2001 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, New York, USA.
© Joanne Fritz's book review was first published on SOFII in 2011.