The fundraising nightmare goes something like this:
I pick up my phone and call a friend to ask her if she would like to meet with me. When she asks… “what do you want to meet about?” I get nervous and don’t know what to say… I stall trying to come up with the right thing about the organization whose board I sit on, but instead I start to see spots and black out…
When I come through, magically we are sitting at a coffee shop… the meeting is happening and she’s staring at me as I explain why the organization is great, where its going, what the vision is, and why we need financial support. But my friend doesn’t hear any of this, instead I’m talking like the teacher from the Charlie Brown Christmas special on CBS. I’m beginning to see spots again…
Then, I jolt upright in my chair. All of sudden I remember why I’m there. The Big M. The Mulla La. Asking for the Benjamins. And I get up the courage and say… “we would like you to make a donation to our organization, even though you didn’t understand a word I said, and maybe you think its a worthy organization… I hope you do… But you might not have the cash right now… you might actually be really poor, even though you drive a Mercedes…” I can’t stop, I just keep talking and talking and talking. I’m afraid to stop because when I do, she’s going to tell me that I’m crazy and that I should never ask friends for money, “because we’re friends and when you ask me for money then you turn into my deadbeat brother-in-law who sleeps on my couch all day, watches pay-per-view porn on my TV, and eats all the food in my fridge.”
In this moment of fear and isolation, I think to myself: “THIS STINKS. I’m actually really passionate about this cause, I truly believe in it. I want to change the world, have an impact, and this is what this board is making me do.” Then I turn on them: “THEY STINK. ALL OF THEM. They put me in this crummy situation. They sent me out all alone to do this. Why couldn’t they have someone to work with me on this. Better yet, a whole team of people to work with me and I them. We could support each other. I could do things that I’m good at like share my experiences and passion for the impact the organization creates, another board member could talk about the organization’s vision, and we could make the ask together… making sure that I don’t run-on at the mouth. There’s got to be a better way to do this.”
That’s when I wake up and say to my myself: “Yes, there is a better way to do this.”
More to come.