Let’s cut to the chase. I know, and you know that one of the biggest things that stop us from being effective in our fundraising is fear. Good old, heart pumping, nail biting, fear.
Recently, I had a conversation with some folks, and I asked them the question, “what is your number one concern around fundraising?” And, time and time again, folks responded, “fear of being rejected.”
Let’s face it; we just don’t like being told no. And, while no may not be personal, it sure feels that way, right?
So, then I have had to ask, are we projecting onto our donors and making assumptions about how they will respond? Meaning, are we projecting our fear of rejection onto them. I am sure that we have all thought at some point, “Oh he won’t give anything to support us, so why even ask in the first place.” Are we projecting our thoughts, fears, and assumptions on a donor, so that we won’t have to attempt to ask or even just develop a relationship with him or her?
There once was a very insightful book I read. It was Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. He spends a whole chapter on “Making Assumptions.” Here is a quote that I think will help you in your work with donors:
“The biggest assumption (in my opinion) is that we assume everyone sees the world and each circumstance the way WE do. We assume they think, feel, and even judge the way we do. This assumption sparks our internal fear of being ourselves around others we think they will judge, victimize or blame us; just as we do to ourselves. So before someone has the opportunity to accept or reject us, we have already rejected ourselves. The way to keep from making assumptions is to ask questions.”
I urge you to take a look at your fears before embarking on major gift work. Are you fearful of rejection personally? And, how is that fear allowing you to make assumptions for donors, just so that you won’t suffer the slings and arrows of rejection in the asking?
This question that I pose is a tough question to think about, but I am asking you to dig deep, not for me, for you, or even for your organization, but for all those in need that you can help by clearing away your fears and your assumptions.
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