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Identifying the Ask

Think carefully and determine your “ask” for each target audience. Be realistic and know your audience’s constraints. Your first ask should be doable—something that would be hard to refuse, such as keeping you informed, sharing information, or making an introduction. You may want to offer two options: would you be willing to have me speak at the next board meeting or provide an article for your next newsletter, for example.

Tips for writing asks

  • As part of your strategy and plans, create specific “asks” for different audiences so everyone knows the ask ahead of time and is using the same ask for the same groups.
  • With an individual, don’t talk too much or give a lecture. State your purpose and ask what the other person thinks. The process of the “ask” is an opportunity to build a relationship if you let the other person talk and respond.
    • Making your “ask” personally and informally is less threatening than asking a senior official or legislator for a public commitment or with a formal presentation.
    • Be realistic. Take into consideration both time and political constraints. Make the “ask” as easy as possible.
  • With a group audience, identify possible do-able actions that help people relate to initiatives happening in their community.

Possible asks include:

  • Signing on a supportive statement, commitment to write a letter
  • Writing a feature or guest column in a newsletter
  • Coordinating programs or services with your program
  • Speaking out at a local or state legislative hearing
  • Assistance with accessing potential funders
  • Introductions to key decision makers
  • Invitations to key meetings

Updated June 2015

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