Improve Fundraising Call Time with the RAT Method

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Campaign call time: It Sounds a Lot Grosser than It Is

Working with first-time candidates, one of the things I hear a lot is about how daunting fundraising, or call time, can be. Believe me, I get it. It is awkward and uncomfortable to ask people for money, and everyone hates it (clip is super NSFW). But, the better you are it, the less painful it becomes.

A major mistake first-time candidates make is they fail to complete an ask. An ask , in the context of call time, is for a specific amount of money at a specific point in time (nine times out of ten, that time is right now.) When candidates, or anyone really, get uncomfortable they dance around the issue and don’t lock in details. They spend far too much time chatting and very little time making a direct ask and getting a direct answer. (This is why having a call time manager is pretty clutch. More pro tips here.) That’s where the RAT method comes in.

Most folks in fundraising have learned some form or another of the RAT method along the way to help structure their ask. I like RAT because it’s easy to remember. RAT = Reason, Amount, Time. All good call time asks will provide the donor with a Reason to donate, the Amount they should contribute, and the Time you need it by. Here’s an example:

“Hey Brad, it’s George, good to talk to you again.  How are Angelina and the kids? Anyway, I called to update you on the campaign. I know you’ve given me $1,000 already, and I really appreciate your support so far. But this race has tightened up. I have a critical fundraising deadline, it’s the last one before the primary election, and I want to close out strong. I could really use another $1,000 to show my opponents that I mean business when I say we are going to fight for better schools and jobs in Lake Como.  Will you stand with me by overnighting me a check today?”

Can you identify the RAT in this ask?

Reason: Fundraising deadline, better schools and jobs

Amount: $1,000

Time: Tomorrow

Don’t worry about getting right down to business; donors appreciate being kept in the loop and not having their time wasted by you beating around the bush. No one has time to be on the phone with someone who is stumbling, tip toeing around what they need to say. Using the RAT method, you will be crushing your call time goals in no time!

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