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Understanding Solicitation: beyond the binary variable of being asked or not being asked

Breeze, Beth, Jollymore, Gloria (2017) Understanding Solicitation: beyond the binary variable of being asked or not being asked. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 22 (4). ISSN 1465-4520. E-ISSN 1479-103X. (doi:10.1002/nvsm.1607) (KAR id:64303)


The identity, motivation and experiences of philanthropists have become increasingly popular topics of study in a wide range of disciplines, yet no equivalent attention has been paid to the ‘askers’, despite research showing that almost all donations are solicited in some way (Bryant et al 2003; Bekkers 2005, Gunstone and Ellison, 2017, p 4). The propensity to be asked for contributions has been found to be positively related to the propensity to give (Bekkers and Wiepking 2007:24) but despite the usefulness of this finding, it reinforces the suggestion that solicitation is a binary variable, such that people are either asked or they are not asked. This paper, drawing on data from in-depth interviews with 73 successful fundraisers in the UK and Canada, highlights the importance of the quality, as opposed to simply the quantity, of solicitation. Three important factors that lie behind successful ‘asks’ are identified and discussed: Firstly, they are made within relationships of trust rather than as a result of a transactional approach. Secondly, they occur as a result of fundraisers’ ability to be an ‘honest broker’ between donors and the organisations they might support. And thirdly, they rely on the fundraisers’ skills in reframing complex issues and finding alignment between the recipient organisation’s needs and the philanthropic aspirations of the donor. The paper concludes with implications for practice.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/nvsm.1607
Uncontrolled keywords: Fundraising; solicitation; charitable giving; philanthropy; donor relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV27 Philanthropists
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: Leverhulme Trust (
Depositing User: Beth Breeze
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2017 22:00 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 15:24 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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