I was talking to a friend last week about her fundraising efforts. She was having second thoughts about a mailing that was going to business leaders she knew and respected. I'd rarely heard her confidence this shaken.
As we started discussing the letter, I asked her if the letter needed re-writing. Maybe her hesitation was an indication that this wasn't the right letter to be sending. Perhaps she should write a different letter for the people she personally knew. She wasn't convinced this would help but she was open to it, so I gave her a suggestion on how to grab this group's attention in the first line of the letter. She liked that idea alot.
Then I helped her reconnect with her passion for her cause. I reminded her she was helping make her community better, that the success of this project would benefit a wide variety of people. She whole-heartedly agreed. As we talked, it was easy to hear her confidence returning.
If we're doing our jobs as fundraisers, we will constantly be pushing out of our comfort zones. We're agents of change. We're people dedicated to connecting resources with vision. It's normal for us experience "call reluctance" from time-to-time.
We'll all see a name and wonder if we should really call him. After all, we don't want to bug him, we rationalize to ourselves. Once given that information, our brains do an amazingly convincing job of reminding us of other reasons why we shouldn't call him either. If we're not on our guard, we'll fall for it.
Fundraising takes guts.
As you're hustling to make this the best year-end possible for your organization, remember to not back down. Now is not the time for timidity. More people need the work you do then ever before. You can help ensure they get it.
And as you're setting goals for the next calendar year, consider joining a professional association of fundraisers. Whether you join a national organization with local chapters, a regional association, or even call up some colleagues and go out for coffee, you'll start getting the support you need.
Remember, courage is not the absence of fear. It's facing fear and moving on through the fear.
It's picking up the phone and making another call. It's putting another letter in the mail. It's sending another email to set up an appointment. It's asking for another gift. It's following up one more time to see how big that gift will be.
One of the reasons I take pride in my work is that I get to hang out with amazingly courageous people like you. You're boldly making change in your communities and organizations. You're making sure the vision gets the needed funding.
You're putting yourself and your comfort on the line every day.
Thank you. What you do takes guts.