Meerkats hugging - Sandy Rees, Fundraising Coach

Sometimes you just need someone to lean on.

I believe we are all here on this planet to have the experiences life brings us, and to help one another.

This week, I had the chance to do both.

I was in my exhibit booth at a conference, talking with people about which of my fundraising books they should choose, when a woman walked up and sort of looked around uncomfortably, then looked me right in the eye.

She said, “I need some help,” then broke into tears.

That was not the first time someone has needed me, but it was the first time that a total stranger needed me in a public place like that. I think there must be something about me that’s very approachable or understanding or trustworthy or some combination of those.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had so much training to be a good listener or maybe it’s because I know how to connect with people on a deep level. Either way, she needed me and I knew how to be there for her.

When I looked into her eyes, I saw someone who cared deeply about what she was trying to do.

She was doing everything she could and yet still not able to quite make it work. I got it.

I asked her if we could start with a hug and she nodded. Then she cried on my shoulder.

Right there in the middle of that exhibit hall, in the middle of that conference.

Her story is not so uncommon.

She’s trying to run an animal rescue organization from her home and fund it herself.

She doesn’t really know how to do fundraising or ask for support, so she’s feeling a lot like the Lone Ranger.

I think she needed someone to care more than anything else.

So, I stood there and loved her to the best of my ability. It was an amazing experience for me.

It reminded me that at the end of the day, it isn’t really about how much I can teach you about raising money.

It’s about how much I’m there for you, supporting you, cheering you on, and helping you reach your goals.

It’s about me encouraging you and telling you how much I believe in you.

And I think we can ALL use more of that.

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