If there was a hashtag to exemplify our professional lives it would be #network. (I couldn’t resist. I mean, we’ve all seen this video, right?) In a culture that’s all about who you know and not what you know, using your network of friends and family is crucial to personal and professional development. And it’s just as vital in the nonprofit sector as it is in the corporate world. But nonprofit professionals, especially young NPs, have a distinct advantage: We get to connect people to the issues they are passionate about and work alongside them to create change. We rely on these “friendraisers” to help further our missions and make a difference in the community.
The September discussion group hosted by YNPN Des Moines was one of a series of professional development opportunities revolving around “Making the Ask.” The big event is Tuesday, October 15, where YNPs get to ask the “Experienced Ones” all of our burning questions (To submit a question or learn more about the event, check out our Facebook event page). In the meantime, below are a few things we took from September’s discussion group.
Ask with confidence – Anytime you ask anyone for anything, assume you will get a “Yes.” A positive, optimistic attitude is an immediate reflection of the passion you have for your organization or cause.
“No pressure” – One of the “A ha!” moments of the discussion was the overuse of the phrase “No pressure” when asking your personal network to support your cause. Unknowingly, these two words imply there was pressure to begin with. It also sends the message that their gift isn’t really all that important (i.e. “If you give, great! If not, that’s okay, too.” Not the best message to send…see tip #1).
Be mission-focused – Not all fundraising asks are universal. Just because you are passionate about your organization’s mission or cause does not mean everyone in your network feels the same. For example, if one friend was to ask me to make a donation to help save sea lions in the Arctic while another was to ask me to donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, I’m going to pick the kiddos every time.
Friends with benefits – Everyone has something they can give, even if it isn’t monetary. It could be volunteering time and talents, advocating on behalf of a certain issue, or organizing a donation drive. Research shows that these “gateway” activities will more than likely lead to financial support in the future.
You won’t get if you don’t ask – Get over your fear of rejection, people! We get the satisfaction of seeing our donors’ gifts in action and being part of the solution. But odds are, they want to feel important, too. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Hope to see you at the big event on the 15th!