Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Asking for money seems hard

We lose many things when we age, many of which aren't so obvious. As children, we have a certain freedom to explore, to try and to question. As children, we ask questions out of curiosity; as we age, we start to ask questions for other reasons. As children, we ask people for things that we need with a simplicity that affords a simple response; as we age, we make it harder -- for the ask and the answer. Add money to the mix for adults and the complexity only increases.

Yet, since we can't return to simpler days of childhood, we must strive to make it easier for people involved in helping nonprofits ask for money (particularly when involved with a capital campaign). Try starting with a creative discovery process that encourages people to engage like curious children -- eager to learn, encouraged to question. Allow the energy (and insights) from that process to inform the messages, the imagery, the case, the everything. Make it accessible. Shape it to be compelling. Then, bring people together in a safe environment to play (role play) in introducing the idea, building the relationship, making the ask and moving forward with the answer.

Capital campaigns and development are far from child's play, though perhaps we can make them easier by looking to lessons from simpler days.
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