Fear no more: how to ask with excitement and purpose

publication date: Nov 14, 2011
author/source: Tony Myers
Hilborn eNEWS is pleased to share with our readers an excerpt from a new resource for Canadian fundraisers,  Excellence in Fundraising in Canada.

Edited by Guy Mallabone, leader in Canadian fundraising field, the book represents more than 400 years of fundraising experience from 20 authors across the country. 

Although the book covers a wide range of topics, this excerpt is from Tony Myers' chapter, Solicitation.

It's not about you

First of all, it is not about you. Many of us involved in this activity take this personally. I know I did when I first started asking for money. I thought that if I asked someone for money, that if they said yes or no, they would be saying yes or no to me.Tony Myers photo

Then I realized it wasn't about me. It is not about me and it is not about you. What it is about is our ability - yours and mine - to represent a case for support to someone who has the ability to give to an organization, its programs or cause. We are facilitators. We present opportunities.

It's not even about the money

Second, it is not about the money. As Scott Decksheimer continually reminds me, we are not in the business of fundraising; we are in the business of program-raising. We are raising money to support programs that ultimately help people in some way.

Quite often people get nervous because they are asking for money. They get nervous because money is involved.  Money tends to conjure up all kinds of emotions.

The point is that money is not the object of the activity. Money is only a tool.  It is only a resource intended to help an organization further its vision, mission, goals and objectives. There is no other reason to raise money. I find it easier to think of it as only one of the resources necessary to get the job done. The second way to overcome the fear is to realize that money is only a tool for the job.  The job is to further the vision, mission and priorities of the charity.

You'll make people feel good

Third, I think I'll embarrass people and make them feel bad if I ask for money. But continuous feedback received from workshops and seminars to the question, "How do you feel after being asked for money?" is quite different.

  • "I felt important."
  • "It actually felt good to know that I could make a difference."
  • "I felt respected. Someone took the time to come and talk to me about the importance of their work and asked me to make a contribution."
  • "I got excited about the opportunity."
  • "I want to learn more about this."
  • "This was a good experience for me. I don't know if I'll give, but I want to give it more thought."
  • "I like the way I was treated. Nobody was pushy.  I didn't feel pressured."
You can see from the responses that people can and do feel good about being asked. It is how people are asked and how they are treated in the process that will impact how they feel. If you are embarrassed, they will be embarrassed. If you feel bad, they will feel bad. If you are excited they will see, feel and experience excitement (remember passion outdraws logic). If you have done your homework, you'll feel more comfortable and more confident.

Excellence in Fundraising in Canada will be published in late November.  The list of contributing authors includes Ken Wyman, Pearl Veenema, Peter McKinley, Nick Jaffer, Steven Thomas, Hala Bissada, Harvey McKinnon, Guy Mallabone, Tony Myers, Nicholas Offord, Richard Walker, Val Hoey, Mike Johnston, Leslie Weir, Boyd McBride, Luce Moreau, Andrea McManus, Tania Brandstrom, Dianne Lister, Pat Hardy, John Bouza and Sharilyn Hale.

A special pre-publication discount is now available for those who wish to pre-order their copy of the book.  Regularly priced at $90, preorder your copy today for just $75 + tax and shipping.  To enquire about discounts on bulk orders, contact the Publisher, Leanne Hitchcock.

To purchase your copy for just $75, click here: http://bit.ly/excellenceinfrincanada

Note - the book is currently in production. You'll receive your copy the moment it's available this December.

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