The Art of the Ask

At Masterworks we have talented copywriters crafting the sentences that move hearts & minds to act…to donate to and partner with your world-changing organization. Please enjoy today’s thoughts by one of our very own, Jodi Carlson, as she shares a trade secret about writing the kind of copy that produces the kind of results you’re looking for.

– Seth La Tour, Executive Creative Director

When you need something done, you don’t just ask. You ask in such a way that results in, well, results.

When asking your kids to do chores, you’ve discovered there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Several methods lead to tantrums. But one leads to the win. Through trial and error, you’ve pinpointed the ask that translates into a clean house.

Knowing how to properly ask for money is not conniving. It is not cheating. It’s common sense. And every successful ministry does it.

When asking your donors to give, how you do it is just as much an art as it is a science. 

I say art– because how appealingly (and maybe even creatively) you present your offer matters. 

I say science– because how well you apply past learning and disciplined testing to your offer matters.

Your donors, not unlike your kids, have been studied. Their behavior has been assessed. And (shhhh, don’t tell them) they’ve been figured out. Discovering what motivates someone to part with their hard-earned dollars in order to further a cause—your cause—is as much a study in psychology as it is in social science. 

For decades, fundraisers have been carefully looking to uncover just what, exactly, moves donors to act. You can ignore the findings and fail to achieve the response you’re looking for. Or you can heed their wisdom and enjoy the results.

None of the data is a secret, and it all points to just one thing. It’s the same premise that applies when a parent asks a child to do chores. It’s so simple, it’s easy to miss: the ask can’t be about you. It must be about them.

Your organization might be changing the world, but your donors don’t care. Not unless they get to be the ones changing the world.

Your ministry might be healing the sick and freeing people from addiction, but your donors don’t care. Not unless they get to be the ones doing it.

Your efforts might be furthering the gospel, impacting eternity and saving souls, but your donors don’t care. Not unless they get to be the ones God is using to get the job done.

The common sense ask —and the spiritual foundation for generosity —both recognize that as you pour into your donors, they will pour into you. And together you will accomplish what you most want to. You will change the world.