The art of the ask

Asking your classmates for a gift is similar to any other invitation. They are flattered by the personal attention and will weigh their competing commitments before determining whether they can join you.

The way you ask will depend on your relationship with your classmates and their relationship with the College.

It will also depend on your style. Regardless of the specifics, successful giving conversations have some common elements. Weaving these elements in will increase your chances of a positive outcome at every gift level.

Steps to follow

  • Introduce yourself and build rapport. Say who you are. Find common ground. Ask what they’re up to. Mention the College. It’s okay to be nervous. Remember, the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your classmate will be.
  • Say why you’re communicating. Explain your role. Believe in your cause. Share your love of Athens College and your reasons for contributing. Be friendly, but also be up-front. Tell them you’re calling to ask them to contribute to their class gift.
  • Elaborate on the needs and Athens College’s top fundraising opportunities and strategic priorities.
  • Make clear that the sooner you give, the sooner you can make an impact on campus. Convey the power and impact of their gift and collective giving.
  • Don’t forget to actually make the ask for your classmates’ support. Let them know their gift will help to achieve your class goals (let them know what these are): Any gift they make between September 1 and August 31 will count toward the annual class gift, even if it is restricted for a specific designation. Explain the options, use the ask amounts the Development Office suggests and share the donor acknowledgement process in place. Refer to the School 2025 Centennial Campaign, goals and celebrations and encourage them to join you in making a gift this (and every) year.
  • “No” does not have to be the end of the conversation. If a classmate says “no” to giving a gift, it’s an opportunity to understand why and share that feedback with College staff. Understand why someone is saying no. Hear the person out. If your classmate doesn’t give a reason, ask why. Most are grateful for the opportunity to express their concerns. If you are not able to answer objections, please get in touch with us. We’re happy to provide additional resources or to be part of the conversation.
  • Don’t forget to say thanks. Thank your classmates for speaking with you and for considering your request. The Development Office can provide you with thank you cards and templates.