Many do-gooders — board members, volunteers, and even fundraisers — operate under the myth that fundraising is ALL about asking for money. This emphasis on asking for money leads to reluctance and hesitation.
But, a good deal of building relationships with donors to your organization or supporters of your cause is about listening to what others are saying — and even hearing what is left unsaid.
Many years ago when I was studying the Chinese language as a student and teacher in Taiwan and Hong Kong, I was struck by the character strokes of the word for listen — and, consequently — for the word hear. As I understood it, the character for “listen” contains the characters for eye, ear, and heart within it. And the word for “hear” is the word for listen followed by a character that means “to arrive at.” In other words, to hear you must arrive at listening. And listening involves your eyes, your ears, and your heart.
The art of fundraising resides in the ability to ask a question or engage in a conversation in a way that allows you to hear the concerns and desires of the potential donor. Avoid talking too much about yourself, the organization, or your wonderful programs and outcomes. Instead, hear their concerns and cares, their fear and hope, their passion, and their desire to make a difference in the world.
When you engage with donors, do you hear the desires of their heart? Have you invited them to share WHY they care about the cause? Do you understand what difference they want to make in the world?
Originally published at https://jcobbconsulting.com on February 22, 2021.