“What shall we give to the Lord for all that He has done for us?” (St. Basil the Great)
Jesus did not hesitate to ask people to sacrifice, to reach beyond self- centered lives toward the Kingdom of God. St. Paul also unhesitatingly asked for sacrifice. For the only truly meaningful gift is the sacrificial one.
However, it does take moral courage to ask for a personally meaningful gift. It may help to imagine the ultimate effect of the gift both on the donor and on the community if the fundraising effort is successful. We ask not for ourselves but for the Lord and all that He has done for us and continues to do for us. "What shall we give to the Lord for all that He has done for us?" asks St. Basil the Great. Found below is a simple example of asking concerning the annual fund drive for an Orthodox school in a parish.
It is assumed that prior to an ask there is a brief discussion or a shared understanding with the prospect regarding the mission and the vision of the school – values, Orthodoxy, shaping the whole person, etc.
Introduction (optional for nervous solicitors):
If you will allow me, I’m going to read to you our request for your support. I am reading this because I am nervous, still learning how to do this. So please forgive me. I do want you to know that we are sincere in asking for your help.
This is what we've done:
Our program has already accomplished many things:
List the top 4-5 accomplishments of the school. State or read the accomplishments. These should be direct, clear, easy to grasp for the listener and if possible, impressive. Read them slowly – there will be a temptation to read them fast because the solicitor is familiar with these or is processing their nervousness.
This is what needs to be done:
1) Our goal is to raise $(amount) in new or increased annual gift commitments.
2) For private schools, the typical gap between tuition income and the actual cost to run a school is (percentage) of the annual operating costs.
3) If possible, identify what new and/or improved services will be offered IF the annual giving campaign is successful.
Therefore, we have a request that we respectfully ask you to consider.. Of course, only you can decide how much you would like to give. Please know that we will be grateful for whatever you may choose to give. Our request is a gift of $_____________.
After the request, remain silent. Allow the person to articulate their response. Ask questions giving them further opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. Be certain you understand their intent. Repeat it back to them.
Inform them that they will receiving a confirmation from the school regarding their commitment and that the school will sent to them quarterly statements reporting to them progress on their annual gift commitment.
Quickly and accurately record their commitment in the donor management system.