Q: Are there any legitimate reasons to wait to put on an Ask Event™?
Dale in Florida
A: Yes, there are reasons why it might be best to wait to put on an Ask Event.
If you have another event scheduled this year that falls near the time an Ask Event would be held, that is a legitimate reason. Having two events, including a brand new one, could confuse people, and overwhelm your staff with double work.
Another good reason to wait is if you want to have more Points of Entry® first. If your organization is brand new or has few existing donors, this would be a valid reason for waiting. Generally, six to nine months of successful Point of Entry Events should give you enough passionate people to fill your Ask Event.
Ultimately, though, the unspoken reason most groups want to wait to put on the Ask Event is fear. They know that this event is different, and they may be concerned about trying to explain the event to board and volunteers. They may be nervous themselves about putting on a successful event. It feels like too much pressure. They fear the unknown.
If fear is really your only true barrier, don't let it stop you.
If you have had passionate Ambassadors invite ten people each to your Point of Entry Events over the past year, and you have done proper follow-up and cultivation of the people who expressed interest in your work, you should be able to have at least 40% "ripened fruit" at your Ask Event.
Your Ask Event should have 200 to 300 guests each year, but only if you can maintain the ratio of 40% newly ripened fruit, i.e., people who have attended a Point of Entry Event in the twelve months prior to each year's Ask Event. Beware of growing your Ask Event so that it serves as a feel-good event rather than its one and only role—to harvest each year's newly ripened fruit.