I agree with Kieran. Friend or no, why shouldn't the guy get something for putting his neck out? Whenever I ask someone for help, I immediately follow up with an offer of my own. I could never go to someone empty-handed, I would hate to be known as that person. Would you go to a friend's house for dinner without a bottle of wine, or some flowers, or some small gift of appreciation? I don't even do that with friends I know very well...because I feel like there is dignity in offering something even when they aren't expecting it.
I was recently asked for help to intro someone to an important VC who is not only managing his multi-billion dollar company/portfolios, but has thrown in a gubernatorial bid. I have spent FIVE years building and nurturing this relationship, have eaten dinner in his home, and know his kids. Introducing anyone to him is not just a risk to him, but, by extension, to me also. Why wouldn't I want someone to show me some skin in the game if I am going to make a connection?
It's not much to ask, considering the risk on our side.
Again, that's just my humble opinion/2 cents.