In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Big Ask

It has been increasingly apparent that I am going to need to learn to ask people for money. This has been true for a while. I have done some fund raising for The Naming Project. Of course, for that, we only needed enough to make the camp run.

Now, with my new job, I'm going to be more and more responsible for money. I need to know how to budget. I need to know how to get the money, and that means that I need to be able to ask people to give the money.

Here's the problem, I hate asking for money. I see that it is a necessity, but I really don't want to call someone up, or visit with them, just to get their wallets open.

I know, I know. I've been told that if you development right, you are not being smarmy. You are giving people an opportunity to support a ministry that they believe in. People believe in both The Naming Project and Lutherans Concerned/North America. I just don't want to be the one to ask them for it.

And I've been able to avoid it at LC/NA, until recently, when it became apparent that I was going to have to do something. I was given the name of a donor who has been a good supporter in the past. This was a very "safe" call.

So, I put it off until nearly the end of the day. Then I finally dialed. He picked up...and I started talking...and talking...and rambling on. I wasn't even making much sense. I was ending my sentences with things like, "...and that sort of stuff." I mean, that's what you say when you have NOTHING TO SAY!!!! I wasn't letting him say anything. I wasn't listening, I was just trying to "set the stage", but doing a crappy job of it.

All the time I'm talking, I realize how bad I sound. I have an internal dialog that says, "Shut up and get on with it. He knows what you are calling for, just do it." So finally I abruptly jump into asking for money. An additional contribution to help us with current expenses. He told me that he couldn't promise anything until he talked to his wife, which was understandable. I thanked him and got off the phone pretty quickly.

I realized that my heart was pounding and that I was sweating...from having a conversation on the phone. This is how bad I am at this.

Here's the blessing. This is someone who knows me. His family has supported us, sometimes unsolicited. He probably knew that I was new and uncomfortable with asking for money, but he patiently listened while I rambled. He knew that he was my "training ask". He told me what he needed to do (talk to his wife). I thanked him and hung up quickly.

Yesterday, I got an email that let me know that they were mailing a check. I wrote back, thanking them both for the donation and for his patience with my rambling call. People in my office are congratulating me for my successful call, but I think these people are more generous than I am successful.

Eventually, I hope that I get better, and more comfortable, with this. It will take time and practice. So, if I come to your door to ask for money, you can help my learning curve...and help my organization!


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