Goldilocks giving

When it finally comes time to ask someone to make a philanthropic donation, how much should you as for – a little, too much, or just right?

“Too little” is never right.  If anything, “too little” is a polite way for someone to say “no.”

“Just right” in my experience also isn’t the answer.

Why?  Because we need to ask the most of everyone if we are going to accomplish great things together.  To be our best we all stretch, we reach just a bit too far, we dream audacious dreams because before something can happen we have to imagine that it just might be possible.  So too with giving.  It should be a stretch, should feel a little outlandish and a bit impossible.  At that moment of connection and excitement and commitment, people will go a bit further if you ask them – and even if they don’t no one gets hurt along the way.  We’re all grown-ups here.

This is particularly important because of how people tend to approach renewals of their giving.  While occasionally someone who gives at a low amount relative their other charitable work will jump to a significantly higher level, those sorts of shifts are rare.  Which means that if things work out well, the giving conversation you are having about this year is setting the bar for giving for next year and the year after that and…

In this case, “too hot” is better than “just right.”

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