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How to Ask - International Dark-Sky Association

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International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) — Information Sheet #155
How to Ask
It is not easy for most people to ask for help. As a non-profit organization, we have to ask for help.
For memberships, for donations, for media coverage, for appointments to discuss lighting codes, to our
neighbor to install better lights, and so on at length. The basics of asking are the same in all cases. This
information sheet will discuss some of these basics, mainly in the context of asking for memberships.
Most people find asking hard to do. It takes motivation and practice. It takes being able to handle No, and
Maybe, and Maybe Later, and the fear of rejection.
There is only one main rule: Just Do It. Ask.
Do you believe in our cause? It is a good one! Many people want to help. But they don’t know how. You
are giving them the easiest way out. Membership.
You are helping them contribute to the cause.
What are dark skies worth? What is good lighting worth? A lot! But membership is not expensive.
Anyone can afford it. Some can even afford to join at a high level.
Books say you must often ask ten times to get action. Be patient. Be persistent.
It is a fact that people give to people, much more than any other way. They give to people who care and
who ask. Show them you care. Then you must ask.
They will become part of the growing army. Helping the organization gain success. Tell them of these
successes; there are many successes. See the IDA newsletter and web site for examples. Tell them too of
membership statistics, of our needs, but mainly tell them of the good things happening.
Remember two main things: Educate. Then get action.
Be friendly, be persistent. Never make an enemy. But ask everyone.
Then thank them, for their membership, for their help. And then do it again.
Is what we are doing of value? Value balances money. Money makes things happen. It is not begging.
In begging, someone asks another for money, and the giver gets nothing in return, except maybe getting
rid of the beggar. Fund raising gives the opportunity for people to give something of value to make
© IDA, Inc. • 3225 N. First Avenue • Tucson, Arizona 85719-2103
520-293-3198 (voice) • 520-293-3192 (fax) • Web: • E-mail:
something of value happen. They get to feel good, for without them nothing would happen. Not everyone
is on the front line, nor on the Board of Directors, nor do they have the skills nor the time. But they
can and do care, and they can help.
They become your partner and our partner in changing the world.
At every function, give people something to take home. IDA information sheets or leaflets. IDA’s web
address. A membership sign up sheet (in fact, two, one for them and one for their use for someone else).
The list of IDA’s goals. Be sure everyone has been asked to join.
They can also give a gift membership. To a school, to a student, to a teacher, to city staff and elected
officials, to a lighting engineer, to a neighbor, to anyone. Educate.
The most important reason people give: Because they were asked to.
Who’s job is it to ask? Ours. All of us. Regularly. Practice asking.
Asking is one thing can you do today to help the cause, to help IDA, to help the night sky. Do it.
At the least, ask someone, everyday, for a membership. Just do it!
A few resources:
IDA Membership forms
IDA Information Sheets, especially these numbers:
Fact sheet on IDA.
List of IDA information sheets.
What you get for your membership
Light Pollution: the problem, the solutions.
Why join IDA?
Some information of non-profit organization fund raising.
IDA Web Site:
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