Conversations with the Living: The Haitian AIDS Crisis

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Fundraising Follies: Business, never personal

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17:00 EST: I bumped into a friend on the street yesterday before the Irene plodded through New York City. I used the few minutes to warn her that come September-October we would be engaged in some serious fundraising and that I would be calling on her for a favor or four. She was part of andante company and used to do some fundraising for it so she sympathized with my plight. (I could tell from the pitying and pained look she gave me.)

We then got into a conversation about hat a soul sucking experience it is to solicit money, especially from friends but not excluding. That got me thinking about why it is so draining. Besides the socially awkward feeling of asking for money (in truth there’s nothing wrong with it), I can’t help feeling that every time you ask for a donation it is a mini-referendum on the worthiness of your project and also on your friendship with person X. Hence, the awkward “Sure no problem,” followed by the lack of a donation becomes an implied “My project us crap and our friendship is even worse.” But of course, neither is the case.

I had a discussion about this with another friend a few weeks back. She has worked in Development for some time and asked for money for a living. She said that there are so many factors to why people do not give, and none of them are personal. Sometimes, they’ve just given to a similar project. Or sometimes, you catch them at a moment when they cannot give for whatever reason. Or maybe they only give to very specific causes that you do not fit into. It’s a long list. None if it, however, is personal. (Or a least very rarely is.)

So, I guess all I am trying to say in my long winded way is that one shouldn’t take the fundraising thing personally. It, like your approach to film, should be about business.


Written by conversationswiththeliving

August 28, 2011 at 4:25 pm

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