“It’s hard to ask for money to honor myself” complained a special event honoree recently – and rightfully so.
Sidestepping that reluctance is the reason why many organizations recruit event co-chairs, or vice-chairs – someone who asks, in the honoree’s name, for the donation. “Please give money to honor Robert who’s been so important to our community” is a lot more palatable than Robert asking, himself, for a gift.
But there’s a third ask possibility – and a fourth. The third pitch is asking because of the organization’s good work; and the fourth is asking on behalf of the recipients of the organization’s work.
Ultimately, we’re all here to accomplish a mission. But special events tend to take on a life of their own which leads to forgetting that as a motivation. Why did Robert agree to be an honoree? Of course, his relationship with who asked him matters, but it’s also critical he thinks the organization does meaningful work (he wouldn’t want his name associated with it otherwise).
Here an example of the four pitches in action:
- “Please buy a table at the Fieldstone Health Center’s gala which is honoring me”
- “Please buy a table at the Fieldstone Health Center’s gala to honor Robert”
- “Please buy a table to support the important work of the Fieldstone Health Center”
- “Please buy a table to decrease child mortality through the work of the Fieldstone Health Center”
Of course these are bare bones pitches, and the first two asks would probably go on to mention the Fieldstone Health Center’s mission, and the last two would likely also speak about Robert’s affiliation with the gala – but the last two are much more compelling, putting Fieldstone Health Center front and center. They elevate the social purpose, appealing to our desire for a better world.
How much more powerful an ask is when it combines a personal appeal with social value. And how much easier for the asker, to be able to assure the recipient that their donation will go towards making a better world for all…