Ask for What You Want

Dear Kim,

I have a donor who gives $250 a year but always makes noises like he is going to give more sometime. We have coffee and sometimes lunch two to three times a year and I always pick up the tab. He never gives more. What should I do? When I factor in my time, he costs me almost as much as he gives.

~Am I a Rube?

Dear Am I?

“Rube” seems rude, but I do have some questions. First of all, what evidence do you have that this person has more money to give? Does he give more money to other organizations? OR, are the ideas and information you come away with really useful? Money shouldn’t be the only reason you meet with donors, but when it is not, there have to be other reasons.

Next, have you asked him to double his gift? Without a direct request, he will not need to give a direct answer. Finally, see my answer to the question about useful donor information concerning this phrase, “makes noises like he is going to give more.” What noises would those be exactly? We would all like to know whether to listen for a honk or snort or growl as a sign of bigger donations coming soon.

He probably enjoys your company. When you reach for the tab, he lets you pick it up. If you want more from this relationship, you will have to step up and ask for what you want.

Good luck!

~Kim Klein