Guest Post: “The Dreaded Ask”


By David LazarThis is my second year riding Obliteride.  Last year, I organized a team for the Century ride.  I wanted to ride because it was the inauguration of something I see as having the potential to really grow and take hold in our community, and to show support for dear friends who’ve lost family members to cancer.

This year, I am hearing from a few friends that they would like to ride, but feel “funny” about asking for donations.  For these friends and others who have a hard time asking for money, I want to share a few thoughts about how and why to ask.

What makes me an expert?  Well, I’ve been fundraising for charitable causes for more than 10 years, have worked with corporate donors as well as individuals, and have probably donated and raised over $250K during that time.  One of my fundraising teams raised close to $150K for a single ride, and we got to cross the starting line first – a huge thrill!

Here are some things to think about if you’re hesitating….

First of all, don’t!  Our economy and our American society are really built on charitable donations.  Because we have relatively smaller government/public funding than other developed countries, charities have to pick up the slack.

Second, aren’t your friends asking you?  Rather than taking their constant requests as a cue NOT to ask, why not agree to support each other’s causes?  I keep a file of everyone who asks me to donate, and I ask them back, making it clear that it’s a two-way street, and then everyone wins.

Third, haven’t you been wanting to “get more involved,” “give back,” or “support the community?”  Admit it, doing a bit of fundraising for such a good cause, while slimming down for summer, is a great way to fulfill your urges.  Believe me, it will feel good!

Finally, many of you reading this work for companies who will match your donations dollar-for-dollar.  And your friends do, too.  These companies love to advertise how much they give back.  Help relieve them of all that excess money!

Do one thing for me right now:  Think about your story.  I mean, think about your motivation for riding or wanting to support a great cause like helping Fred Hutch end cancer.  Is it because you personally have been touched by cancer?  Because you want to stretch yourself for a good cause?  Or because you just don’t think cancer is fair, and the Hutch is helping?  Asking will be 10x more meaningful – and easier – if you’re clear on why you’re asking.

Please consider going out of your comfort zone for all these good reasons, and pass this along to some friends who might need motivation, too.

Best regards,

David

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