Making the Ask to a Business Leader

business fundraising Feb 23, 2021

As we mentioned in the previous articles, you will likely have a limited amount of time, so get to the point quickly without too much chitchat. Although it is usually wise to spend a bit of time commenting on the company’s success, the business leader’s accomplishments, or general community topics.

Be sure to thank business leaders if their companies have supported you in the past. If not, you can thank them for support their companies have provided for the community.

You’ve rehearsed and know already who is going to make the ask, and you might even have worked out some internal signals, such as “when I cross my legs, the prospect is ready for the ask.”

Be direct about the amount you are asking for. After all, you’ve done your homework and you know this amount is a reasonable ask amount for this company. The volunteer might say “Joe, our company is committed to this project, and we’ve made a $100,000 gift to show the community how strongly we feel about this program. I am hoping you will join us and also make a $100,000 from XYZ company.”

Offer Options

Before you go into the call, one of the things your solicitors should be aware of is the various options for support listed in your case for support, such as the following:

  • An outright gift or grant
  • A pledge to be paid monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually
  • Gifts-in-kind
  • Employee volunteer programs
  • Sponsorship of a program

You should also explain the options for recognition, which could include the following:

  • The company’s name on a building, room, or area of a campus
  • Listing in annual reports, website, and/or newsletter
  • Advertising or press releases
  • Signage at events or programs
  • Plaques or other mementos

Be sure, of course, that these recognition items have been approved by your staff and board before offering any options to the company. If the business leader expresses an interest in a type of recognition you do not currently offer, be sure to mention that you are happy to take this idea back to your organization and see if it will work.

Following Up

After the call is over, you still have one more task: Follow up! If the leader you are speaking with asks for more information, get that information as soon as possible. If there is another appointment to be scheduled, do it before you leave the leader’s office. Be certain that volunteers are aware of follow-up and reporting procedures.

Debrief with the ask team right away. Maybe have coffee after the visit and fill out the contact report form right away. The information can then be entered into your database as soon as you get back. For a sample contact from, see Raise More Money from Your Business Community—the Workbook.

If you need help with talking to business leaders, take my course, Raise More Money from Your Business Community. Sign up here


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