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Nonprofit University

FND 232 | The Art of the Ask: Donor Cultivation

Now that you have your wealth of research, how do you turn those names into viable donor leads? Major donors require more individual attention than the donor reached primarily through your annual campaign. You must be intentional in your engagement of major-donor prospects, including clear roles and responsibilities for your staff, board, and other members of your major-giving outreach.

You established your levels of major giving and identified your pool of potential major donors. You used your collective networks to cultivate prospects’ interest in your organization and mission. After so much planning and building, the time has arrived: The Ask. You need the appropriate person making the appropriate ask at the appropriate time and place. You should be confident that the prospect is ready to be asked and ready to consider your ask, but even with the ideal situation in place, you may still have resistance or objections. With proper planning, you will be ready to answer questions (or commit to getting the answer and getting back to them) and route prospects toward a secondary giving or engagement opportunity if the initial ask does not stick.

This course will include supportive role-playing exercises in a friendly atmosphere to encourage learning of best practices in making your ask.


  • Roles and responsibilities of staff, board, and ambassadors and key volunteers in cultivation
  • Role of broader organizational events and communications in cultivating major donors
  • Fundraising psychology
  • Making the ask
  • Overcoming objections and dealing with “no”
  • Understanding your organization’s funding priorities, and identify the rationale for addressing them


At the end of this course, you will be able to…
  • Assess how organizational projects might appeal to donors and the information needed to create specific fundraising strategies targeting them.
  • Structure and deliver a major-gift solicitation.
  • Apply concepts of fundraising psychology and customer-focused techniques in crafting messages, articulating value, and overcoming objections or resistance.


Team members who engage with fundraising, especially from individuals:
  • Fundraising and development staff
  • Marketing/communications staff
  • Senior leadership
  • Board members, especially serving on fundraising committees 



  • Coming soon


9:00 am - 12:30 pm EDT


Online Class
You will receive log-in information after registering for the course.

Registration Details

Member: $85
Nonmember: $110

Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or 678-916-3081.

Coming soon


Thanks to the generous support of The Wells Fargo Foundation, GCN offers a limited number of partial scholarships for staff and board members of eligible organizations to attend Nonprofit University. Learn more