Asking for money can be a scary thing.  So many people are afraid to ask their friends for money and this seems to be a particular problem for folks who sit on nonprofit Boards and have the responsibility for fundraising for their organizations.

Just like conquering fear of heights or fear of most anything, your fear of fundraising can be overcome.  It takes a few simple steps, a positive attitude, a little support, and a good dose of courage.

Focus on the reason why you care about the organization.  Keep that in your mind as you go through this exercise and it will make things a bit easier.  When you’re ready, take these baby steps toward asking for a donation:  

  1. Pick a friend that you can ask for a gift.  Make sure it’s someone you trust – this will help you feel safe.
  2. Practice telling him/her about your organization. It’s okay if you stumble on your words.  You’re practicing on a friend after all.
  3. Then ask for a $50 donation.  (This is a slightly larger amount than most people give and a good place for you to start.)

Pay attention to how the experience goes for you.  How does it feel while you are in the conversation?  Are you nervous?  Sweating?  How does it feel after you ask for the gift?  Are you relieved that it’s over?  Was it easier or harder than you thought?

Afterward, write a short description of your experience, positive or negative. (There’s great power in writing this experience down!)  

Hopefully, it was an exhilarating experience for you!  Once you get your fear under control, you may actually find it fun to talk with people about the organization you love.

Whether the experience was positive or negative, think for a moment if this is how you want fundraising to be for you.  Is there a different way you think it could or should be?  Would you like it to be easy and light, with the words rolling off your tongue? Would you rather it be full of energy, with your donor prospect catching your enthusiasm like a spreading wildfire?  Would you like to have donors thank you for giving them the opportunity to support your organization’s work? (It can happen!)

Remember, when you focus on the baby steps that need to be done, and just DO one, you stop being afraid or overwhelmed by the big stuff or the things that might happen if you fail.

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