By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

Do you know what the first rule is of getting what you want? Ask. Yes, that’s it. We have been intrigued over the years at how often nonprofits simply forget to ask for a donation. By the same token, prior to the recent primary election, many candidates whom we know, some very well, never asked directly for our vote. Whether it’s fundraising, political campaigning, or selling a product or service, you must connect with your potential donors, voters, or consumers and ask them to do what you want them to. The PR key is asking the right people in a gracious and effective way, at the right time.

As for the right people, begin with your closest allies, from family members and friends to vendors, colleagues, associates – anyone you rub elbows with on a regular basis. Don’t assume that because you’re close to them, they will act on this relationship without your prompting them. Then, make sure your message is clear, brief and delivered politely in a way that your audience can receive it, whether that’s in-person, by email, by mail, by phone, or a combination thereof. Make your request in time for your audience to act but not too far in advance, lest they forget.

If you were planning a party, you would send invitations, and if no one RSVP’d, you would follow up. Otherwise, you might end up at your event by yourself. Likewise, if you want a vote or a donation, ask and secure the commitment or at the very least find out why your audience is apathetic or not going to help you. Only with that feedback can you tweak your message or your goal and move forward successfully. Ask, and there’s a good chance that you’ll receive.

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