The art of fundraising and “asks”

Sorry for the delayed post–after such a busy first week and working 11 of 12 days, a much needed long weekend was so nice!

There has definitely been a learning curve at work, especially in regards with how to cultivate relationships with clients, come to arrangements that are mutually beneficial, or just “making the ask” and seeing if they are willing to do anything pro bono.  I have found that it is definitely an art and a learned skill set.

For instance, the other day I emailed a company in Columbus that I thought would have great insight to an event ARC Ohio is putting on. However, some of the information on their website was out of date and I ended up essentially asking for the wrong thing and realized it when the company followed up with me via phone.  It was definitely time to pivot, but I realized I didn’t really know enough how to redirect and regroup to make the conversation a beneficial one!  I muddled my way though and followed up with an email apologizing for my lack of preparedness, but it was definitely a painful learning experience.

Luckily, my bosses had some great advice for cold calling or handling situations on the phone like that. 1.  Always smile on the phone when you’re speaking to some one you have to kind of make a pitch to.  This way, you remind yourself to be positive and personable even across the phone line.  2.  Stand up like you’re having a conversation or a presentation.  When you are telling some one your organization’s story or saying why your event is the best, you’re essentially making a presentation. Stand up and you’ll find you sell it better.  3. And the last, if in doubt always say, “Well, why I don’t I tell you a little more about us and then I’d love to hear more about what you do.”  Such an easy way to recover and have the other half of your conversation fill in the gaps of “what do we have in common to work together on?”

Overall, a small blunder become a learning experience and these are definitely tips I will keep in mind!

–Katie

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