When I tell people I work in fundraising, I always see the same reaction: they begin to sweat, get antsy, and reply, “That sounds horrible; I could never do that.” But I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not about asking for money. It’s about building genuine relationships and presenting an opportunity. That’s it. Last week I met a 70-year-old woman who collects fine art, frequents the symphony, and bird hunts with falcons. This week I was invited over for an authentic home-cooked meal of dumplings and green curry by a woman who moved here from China two years ago. She said, “Everyone has been so welcoming to me. Now it’s time for me to give back.” We’re starting conversations, and building friendships. That is fundraising.
It was never difficult to find someone to talk to. While people may seem shut off, lost in their own virtual world, they just needed a little jolt from reality to wake them up from their cellular slumber. The result? Everyone I approached opened up with personal stories, fears, and dreams. And every single person was genuinely happy and flattered to be appreciated, if only for a moment. It’s that easy.