by Dan Schipp
Through the years when I’ve told people that I worked in development, more often than not, they responded, some even with a hint of disgust in their voices, “How can you do that? How can you ask people for money?”
I suspect they viewed fund raising as somehow getting people to do what they really would rather not do – give. And in all honesty, I have to say that’s how I looked upon fund raising when I first started in this field 25 years ago. I did not like the idea of asking someone to give. I didn’t want to offend anyone. I feared rejection. I was intimidated by the prospect of asking someone for a gift that might even be larger than my annual salary! Fear, awe, jealously, inferiority, guilt – those were my feelings . . . until I met Hank Rosso.
Hank was the founder of The Fund Raising School, now part of Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy. Early on in my development career, I attended a workshop taught by Hank. He helped me to see that giving is an exchange process; donors and society do receive benefits in return for their investment. He taught me that the number one reason why people don’t give is because they are not asked. He taught me that when I call on prospective donors, I need to “kick my ego aside” at the door and let my organization and its mission, values and goals walk in.
Hank enabled me to see that in seeking support I am giving donors the opportunity to be part of something much larger than themselves. I am giving them the occasion to invest in work that will have an impact on them and generations to come. I am giving them the chance to experience the joy of giving... and for that I need not apologize or feel guilty!