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The 5 ASKing Traits: An AFP International Conference on Fundraising Education Session Sneak Peek!

Resource Center - Foundation

From Today’s Leading Authority on THE ASK© Laura Fredricks

laura fredricksI want you to think back to all of the experiences you’ve had when you asked for something that you wanted—maybe it was money, time off work or maybe it was trying to find the best doctor for your family. Were you confident in your ask? Did you stumble to find the right words?

Over the last 20-plus years, I have trained and coached people how to ASK for anything they want, need and deserve. By listening very carefully to their conversations and honing in on what it is they’re really asking for, I’ve learned that every ASK, both successful and non-successful, really boils down to the type of ASKer the person is and which of the five ASKing traits they possess. For the first time ever, I have created The Five ASKing Traits for AFP’s International Conference on Fundraising in San Antonio.

Knowing your personal ASKing style, as well as the style of your boss, partner or co-worker, can be incredibly insightful. These five ASKING traits apply to everyone in everyday situations: from ASKing for a raise and travel vouchers for a canceled flight to medical advice and ASKing for gifts. I can show you how to gauge the reactions you may be receiving, and with a few simple refinements you will be making your best ASK every time.

Here’s a situation that may sound familiar: you’re going to see a loyal donor whom you know quite well and have some great news to share, but you also need to ASK for an increased gift:

“Kristen, how are you? Are you preparing for the holidays? This fall has just flown by. I cannot believe we are almost at the end of the year! How’s your daughter, her new school?

As you know we have been busy this past year with our three special events, the last one was our gala this November, which we broke last year’s record amount raised! We are now focusing on launching our three new programs for 2014. Everything is going great – we even added two new board members.

With all these great initiatives on the horizon, I just know that you will want to make an increased end-of-year gift.”

How many times have you offered so much information right up front because you are excited to share the good news and your organization’s progress that you never come up for air? Your enthusiasm and momentum are putting you in the ideal situation to ASK, but you end up tacking your ASK at the end of this uplifting conversation. This happens a lot—especially during the holiday season.

If you identify with any part of the above example or can think back to a time when you’ve had a similar experience, then you are:

A Domineering Demander

dom demThe word “domineering” can sound a bit abrasive, and I am most certain many people will not consider themselves to be in this category, but think again. When you look back over this example, the conversation was really dominated by the ASKer. She gave some wonderful news but it may come off a bit overbearing and overwhelming to the person receiving the news.

Another example of this ASKing style is the following—see if you can identify any of your board members or volunteers in this scenario:

“Jack, you know how important this organization is to me, and as a board member I have the responsibility to talk to good business colleagues like yourself about the need for our organization to raise X amount by the end of this year. I see your company is doing really well so my timing is great. I’ve given $25,000, and I want you to do the same.”

We love and applaud people in a leadership role for being assertive in fundraising but sometimes the best intentions can sound too demanding in an ASK.

These ASKing traits also apply to anything you need to ASK for in your daily life. Think about the number of ASKs you make in the course of any given day: in your relationships, at work, on the road, at a restaurant, while shopping, at home, in emails, texts or via telephone. There are more than you think, which is why it is so important to know your style and adjust accordingly.

See if you can hear yourself in this example:

I have called twice now to get my credit card bill adjusted. Each time I call they tell me the late fees have been waived but the past two bills still reflect these late fees. Now to add insult to injury, I just received a voicemail stating that “‘if my bill is not paid in full they will temporarily freeze my account.” Please connect me with a supervisor now.”

We have all had these frustrating, exacerbating moments, and this example fits squarely within the Domineering Demander. While this ASKing trait has some truly positive qualities, such as focus, dedication, determination and passion, it can put the person being ASKed in an uncomfortable position. The attention is taken away from the ASK and is placed on reacting to the tone, the words and bombardment of the conversation.

This is just one example of the 5 ASKing Traits that we will cover in this premier session at the AFP International Conference.

Here are the important questions we will cover together at that session: 

1.         What are the universal 5 ASKING Traits?

2.         Why is it important that I know which type of ASKer I am for my personal and professional life, and what if I fit more than one type of ASKer?

3.         What tips can I use to adjust my ASKing style so that I can make every ASK my best ASK?

4.         What do I do when I identify an ASKing style of someone I work with or someone I love, and I want them to make small changes to their way of ASKing?

5.         When should I change my ASKing style when I think that the person I am about to ASK may say “yes” if I change my style?

But let’s not wait until March 2014 to get you prepared for this valuable life lesson! It’s important to take the lead, assert yourself and prep for the best ASKer you can be. For more ASKing information or to learn about the various ASKing help I can offer you, follow me on Twitter @ExpertOnTheASK and connect with me on Facebook at ExpertOnTheASK! Tell me what you want to learn during my session at the 2014 conference—let’s tailor the session for YOU.

See you in San Antonio!


LAURA FREDRICKS comes from a seasoned career in industries best known for making the most high profile of multi-million dollar asks. Fredricks now puts the world of asking into perspective for everyday audiences as The Expert on THE ASK© providing “Asking Advice for Everyday Living.” As a lawyer-turned-philanthropic advisor, and author of numerous books on the topic, she is the first to merge strategies from both the legal, for-profit and nonprofit sectors into an all-new practice called THE ASK©, an emerging new motivational speaking series that helps every day people negotiate for the life they want, need and deserve. For more information, visit and for a few tips to get started today, visit: 

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