How To Ask Me For Donations And Sponsorships

Yesterday I hosted a fireside chat for nonprofit executives with my good friend, Blake Absher, market President for BB&T. We talked about the right way (and the wrong way!) to ask for donations, sponsorships and corporate partnerships. Check out the Facebook Live video.

Leveraging Corporate Sponsorships
Notley EDU Dan and Blake

I thought I’d boil down my takeaways into some easy bullet points


  • Send me a cold email. Find someone who is willing to vouch for you to make an intro. I get a ton of these and probably won’t even see it and most certainly won’t read it.

  • Ask for money with me offering to help first. I know you need money. If there’s a good fit, I’ll ask you how I can help or how I can get involved.

  • Ask me for something every time I see you. This is the easiest way for me to start dodging your phone calls and start ignoring your emails

  • Ask me to intro you to my network to solicit donations. Unless I’ve offered to do this for you, this will never happen.

  • Ask me for money as my only option to engage. How else can I engage?


  • Take the time to learn about my mission, who I give to and where I spend my time. You want to craft your asks around what I’m already passionate about.

  • Offer ways you can help me or my projects. I don’t mean this in a selfish way and it’s not about reverse psychology. It’s about building a relationship that is a two way street. Plus it’s a lot harder to say no to someone who is helping me. =)

  • Craft a custom engagement and giving opportunity. The better your mission connects with mine, the better the chances are I’ll want to fund it.

  • Ask for advice, not money. “Ask for advice, you’ll get money. Ask for money, you’ll get advice”

  • Read Give and Take by Adam Grant