Use These Tips to Overcome Your Fear to Ask

Asking for money creates anxiety.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.  It’s normal to feel tense the moment you make an ask.  How you manage the tension and overcome your anxiety is crucial.

It takes practice and a willingness to be vulnerable.

Some people never make it to the ask.  Why?  Fear is a powerful foe.  So many would-be fundraisers have told me, “Before I can even reach out to set up a visit with a prospect, the little voice in my head gives me a hundred reasons why they will say no to me.”  No one likes to hear “no”… especially from a friend or family member.

Rejection sucks (seriously, there’s no way to tiptoe around it).

Remember, you are in an epic battle to find the funding for the people/places/puppies you serve.  You have to embrace being uncomfortable.  Learn to enjoy the struggle.  The struggle is the journey.  It’s not easy to put your neck on the line and risk rejection, but it’s part of the process.  Take the risk because the pure joy you experience when you hear “yes” is incredible.

Use the following tips from Nick Fellers to overcome your fear of asking for money (Nick’s the third bullet point in pure genius!):

Always ask.

1.  It may not be the right time to answer yes but it’s always the right time to ask. If this bothers you, see #2.
2.  If you’re uncomfortable you can soften the ask, but (again) always ask.  Asking advances the ball. More than that, a prospect cannot guess what you need. That being said, sometimes we’re just really uncomfortable or worried about messing up – especially in the first few visits. If you need to, here are some ways to soften the ask.

  • “Would it be okay to have a follow-up conversation about ways to financially support this project?”

  • “We’re going to need 10 Angel Investors (@$100,000 each). I know this is one of the first times we’ve really had a serious conversation about XYZ. Could we have a talk about the Angel level some time this year?”

  • “Based on everything you’ve seen here today, are you in?”

Never decide for your prospects.  Just ask and let them tell you what they want to do.  In 75% of the asks I have made, the prospect has actually THANKED me for giving them the opportunity to help.  Not all of them said yes to the ask, but they expressed gratitude.

Need help making more asks?  Email me today at (use the subject JUST ASK).  We’ll set up a free 20 minute consultation to assess your needs and give you at least one good practical tip for making an ask.

2 thoughts on “Use These Tips to Overcome Your Fear to Ask

  1. I haven’t read this anywhere else, but ultimately my conscience compels me to make the ask. I would feel so guilty if I did not ask, as if I was letting down everyone who was counting on me to make the ask in the first place. Whether they say yes or no, in a way, doesn’t matter to me. Not as long as I did my best to bring the conversation to a point of decision.

    1. Great response John! I completely agree… the “yes” or “no” is ultimately not the primary focus of the fundraiser. He or she is responsible for sharing the story of the organization and presenting the opportunity for the prospect to get involved.

      The sad reality I have found is this: fundraisers (not all, but many) will do everything BUT get in front of a prospect to make an ask. They are busy “playing office” – organizing mailers, meeting with steering committees, analyzing data… etc… etc… etc…

      Thanks for joining the conversation!

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