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​One Donor’s Answers for the “Ask”

The vast majority of “Ask” best practices come from fundraisers. Here are some solicitation techniques from someone experienced in giving, who believes that good, old-fashioned sales training will help improve the fundraising workforce.

Believing that sales training for fundraising staff will lay the groundwork for more efficient philanthropy in the future, billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has partnered with several universities to launch the “Sanford Institute of Philanthropy” with the goal of training boots-on-the-ground fundraisers to effectively ask philanthropists for money. Sanford’s seminars are based on his insights into what makes donors give, after years of being solicited himself.

The Institute offers seminars on honing pitches, building lasting ties with donors, and other frontline skills, all using traditional sales techniques in what Mr. Sanford terms “cause selling.” Designed with working professionals’ schedules in mind, the seminars offered are one to two days in length with night and weekend classes.

For more information on Sanford or his seminars, please see, The Billionaire Philanthropist Teaching Fundraisers How to Ask for Money or Philanthropist Backs Effort to Train Fundraisers Like Salespeople.

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