My most recent blog talked about the type of conversations – featuring many questions- that occur during feasibility study interviews.
Those questions sometimes lead us into unexpected places. And I think most of the time those are good places or produce good decisions and outcomes for the interviewee and the client.
Asking someone for a gift works in much the same way. Over too many years to admit in this field now, I’ve come to the conclusion that the heart of our profession is all about asking. Asking people to participate, to advise, to offer their opinion, to serve and to give money…
And I’m not persuaded at all that the best practitioners are the smoothest talkers, with the best voices and techniques. I think the best ones are those who are quietly fearless about asking people to engage or give.
There are so many reasons not to do so. So many easy reasons to listen to the quiet resistance internally that tells us we have to wait for something else or that something on our desk is more important than going and talking directly with another person.
We’ve also seen people who are wonderful at organizing and scheduling and everything else but simply sitting down and talking with a volunteer and donor.
The best professionals in our fields are people who manage to deal with the occasional feelings of vulnerability and just go ask someone to help. Asking someone to do something when you know there is a reasonable chance they will decline takes some level of guts. That is fearlessness.
I wonder how much more money would be given away in America or how many nonprofits would be able perform their missions better if there was more asking going on???