Q: We hold our Ask Event in the largest venue in our community. We have had very successful asks over the last six years, but we are almost at the point of having to turn away guests. We don’t want to move our event out of the area to have a larger venue because we are a community-based organization. We have tried to focus on making sure that we are bringing people to the event that have not attended an Ask Event before and are hitting slightly over 25% in that area. Would you still recommend only doing the event once per year even if it means turning away guests? We aren’t there yet, but we are getting close.
Janette in Washington
A: Thanks for your question!
Definitely we would not recommend a larger venue anywhere unless you are meeting all our metrics.
We say the ideal size for an Ask Event™ is 200 to 300 people, but only if you are attaining these measures. These are essential to meeting the #1 objective of the Ask Event: 10% of Ask Event guests join your Multiple-Year Giving Society™ ($1,000+ per year x five years) newly each year.
- 40% "ripened fruit" each year, i.e., people who have attended a Point of Entry® Event in the year prior to this Ask Event
- 50% of the Ask Event guests are first-time Ask Event guests each year
- 100% of your Ask Event Table Captains served as successful Ambassadors in the prior year—meaning they had at least ten people attend Points of Entry
The whole purpose of the Ask Event is to harvest each year’s newly ripened fruit. If you are using the Ask Event as a substitute for a Point of Entry or a Free Feel-Good Cultivation Event™, you won’t be meeting the main metrics or growing your giving society. The Ask Event’s job is to generate new Multiple-Year Giving Society Donors whom you then cultivate personally to become major donors.
Please remind everyone that the Benevon Model is not about having a nice Ask Event; it is a pipeline-filling system for major gifts. Your goal is to have a strong major gifts program and sustainable funding—not a big party!