Title: Asking: A 59 minute Guide to Everything Board Members, Volunteers, and Staff Must Know to Secure the Gift Author: Jerold Panas Publisher: Emerson & Church, 2004 cost: US$24.95

If asking is at the heart of fundraising, then face-to-face gift solicitation is at the heart of asking, and Asking by Jerold Panas is as good a guide as there is. If you enjoy a book that reads like the author is your mentor imparting some truths distilled from years of practice, then you will like Jerry’s style.

The book is highly motivational, with thoughts that you can keep in your head as you walk up the driveway, or go up the lift, to solicit a major gift, thoughts such as: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”; “Triumph is umph added to Try”; and “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.” The lessons from Panas are classical fundraising advice: emphasis on preparation and practice, how to get an appointment, the importance of enthusiasm, and how to handle objections.

Every book should have some point of genius and in this little volume (just 110 pages), the genius is a list of four questions that you can ask any prospect to reveal their reservations about giving to a particular project.

This is a handy and amusing guide to personal gift solicitation that emphasises the need to get out from behind the desk, for as Panas puts it, “The desk is a dangerous place to raise money from.”

Reviewed by Dr Daniel McDiarmid, director, Global Philanthropic

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