The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project, or Business Venture


Praise for The Ask

"Do you want to think bigger about who you are and what you offer the world? Of course you do. Then you need to do the work, but you shouldn't do it alone. That's why you must be able to ask. Laura's book will show you how to do so with grace and strength. Highly recommended."
—Michael Port, New York Times bestselling author, The Think Big Manifesto

"Laura gives great examples of how to make each Ask a positive experience for...

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Hardcover (Updated and Expanded Edition)
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Praise for The Ask

"Do you want to think bigger about who you are and what you offer the world? Of course you do. Then you need to do the work, but you shouldn't do it alone. That's why you must be able to ask. Laura's book will show you how to do so with grace and strength. Highly recommended."
—Michael Port, New York Times bestselling author, The Think Big Manifesto

"Laura gives great examples of how to make each Ask a positive experience for the asker...and the person being asked."
—John E. Möller, director, Office of Protocol,The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

"People are more involved and more passionate than ever about causes in their life and reaching goals, yet most still are not very good at the most important part: asking for what they want! This book offers comprehensive but practical advice on how to connect with, convince, and inspire people to help you succeed in your goals—whether it's business, charitable, personal, or any aspect of your life."
—Paulette V. Maehara, president and CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Alexandria, Virginia

"This book is a clear road map for initiating and making the Ask in the not-for-profit and business sectors. As the president of an executive recruitment firm, I see this book as an invaluable resource for planning your career and landing your best job."
—Gail L. Freeman, president, Freeman Philanthropic Services, New York

"Laura is the wizard of strategic fundraising, and this is a guidebook for all of us to use in everyday matters—whether it's asking for a raise or negotiating with our partner."
—Donna Weaver, founder, WeaverWorks, Yardley, Pennsylvania and former corporate communications executive in the apparel industry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470480946
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/26/2010
  • Edition description: Updated and Expanded Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 243
  • Sales rank: 318,610
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

The Author

Laura Fredricks, JD, is an expert fundraiser, an internationally known inspirational speaker, and principal owner of her own boutique consulting company for nonprofits and businesses ( She is author of The Ask: How to Ask Anyone for Any Amount for Any Purpose and Developing Major Gifts.

Prior to opening her own company, Laura was the vice president for philanthropy at Pace University in New York City, where she raised $92 million in six years. She has been teaching nonprofit business management and fundraising techniques since 1994 for the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Duke University, New York University, and the Smithsonian Institution. She holds a communication degree from Rutgers College and a law degree from Western New England College School of Law.

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Table of Contents

Foreword (Ivan G. Seidenberg).




Part I What Do I Need To Know Before I Ask?

1 What Money Means to You and Why Ask?

What Does Money Mean to You?

Why Do You Hesitate to Ask?

Know the Person You Are Asking Before You Make the Ask.

Every Organization Has Its Own Charm.

People Like to Give Money.

Focus on Positive Results Not Negative Forces That Perceivably Get in the Way.


Looking Ahead.

2 Do You Have a Well Thought-Out Plan of What You Want?

The Importance of a Well Thought-Out Plan.

Case Statement for Nonprofits.

Business Plan for Businesses.

The Script for Each Ask.

Time Frame for the Ask.

The Warm-Up.

The Ask.

The Compelling Case.

Transitional Statements.

The Ask Amount and Purpose.

Examples of Specific Asks with Specific Amounts.

Benefits of the Gift.

Benefits of the Business Venture.

Remaining Silent.

The Anticipated Response.

The Close and Follow-up.

Who Speaks and Who Listens.

Fundraising Language.

Three-Step Method Prior to Any Ask.


Looking Ahead.

3 How Do I Know Who to Ask and When to Ask?

Who Should Be Asked?

Every Person Must Be Treated Individually.

Wealth Does Not Always Translate into Transferring Wealth.

Research Can Help to Prioritize Who to Ask.

Research—From a Distance.

Research—Up Close.

Prioritizing Your Top People.

Asking Friends, Relatives, or Colleagues Does Not Have to Be Stressful.

When Should You Ask?

The Readiness Formula.






Having Some but Not All of the Readiness Elements.

Asking for Money in Hard Economic Times.


Looking Ahead.

4 Who Should Make the Ask and in What Setting?

Who Should Make the Ask?

A Charismatic and Confident Personality Goes a Long Way.

Every Asker Must Give First.

Every Asker Must Have the Time Before, During, and After the Ask to Follow Through.

The Reward Is in the Ask.

Four Eyes Are Better than Two.

Executive Leadership as Part of the Ask.

Donors as Part of the Ask.

What Is the Best Setting for the Ask?


The Golf Course Ask.

Positive and Professional Dress and Demeanor.

Positive Body Language and Tone of Voice.

Making the Call to Set the Meeting for the Ask.

Paper or No Paper Before, During, or After the Ask.


Looking Ahead.

Part II—How Do I Make the Ask?

5 Asking for a Cause—Small and Large Charitable Gifts.

Asking for a Small and Significant Charitable Gift.

Asking for a Large and Transformational Charitable Gift.

Troubleshooting Tips to Apply Prior to the Ask.


Looking Ahead.

6 Asking for Yourself.

Asking for a Job-Related Cause.

Asking for a Job.

Asking for a New Job Title.

Asking for a Raise.

Asking for a Creative Project.

Asking for a Business Venture.


Looking Ahead.

7 Handling the Responses to the Ask.

Preparing for the Response.

Addressing the Person’s Response.


Looking Ahead.

8 Following Up with Each and Every Ask.

Next Steps After Each Ask.

Juggling Your Time to Do All the Follow-Up.

Troubleshooting Tips for the Follow-Up.


Looking Ahead.

9 When the Answer Is “No” and When the Answer Is “Yes”.

A “No” Answer.

A “Yes” Answer.


Looking Ahead.

10 Pulling It All Together.

About the Author.


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