It’s actually very easy to communicate what you’d like someone to do. The NY MTA does it simply, with a bigger box.
Of course this applies to web design, IRS tax forms, etc. But it also applies to how you fundraise.
The most subtle, ever-elusive dance in fundraising is between relationship-building and “closing the sale.” I find that, by and large, new fundraisers have to learn to invest more in building relationship, providing value to others, and being ambassadors within their organization for potential donors.
At the same time, you always have to be ready to answer the questions: “What’s most important to you?” or “If I’m ready to donate, what should it be for?” There’s almost never any harm, even at the outset of a relationship, to be very clear about what your priorities are and how someone can be most helpful. That’s not trying to close the sale too early, it’s knowing what your priorities are and giving someone clarity. That’s never a bad thing.
If you don’t let them know (or worse, if you don’t know) what you hope they’ll do, how can you ever expect them to figure it out?
And if you’ve ever gone into a fundraising meeting without your top priority ask in mind, you’ve broken this rule. I know I have.