Being in charge of our church's fundraising program gives me an opportunity every day to talk to amazing people who share a singular passion to improve the lives of others. Each person that gives is a friend, and in fact, I've found there is no better way to discover new friends than to talk with others about this project. One could say with accuracy that the faster we discover our friends, the faster we will have a brand-new building.
I have another reason to love this job. I get to study and read as part of it. Not only do I get to be inspired by my "public," but I get to be inspired by the works of many who have come before me and who have dedicated their lives to helping people help people.
That being said, I'd like to quote from a book I've recently finished. With this information alone, anyone could become a competent fundraiser and moreover, they could lead a life in which opportunity never passes them by. I also suspect that anyone who properly applies this data would never have marital or familial difficulty to speak of.
This passage addresses a key component to fundraising - the ability to listen. It was penned by Jerold Panas in his book, Born to Raise. See if you can read this passage and not be inspired.
"To be a good listener, you really have to work at it. The prospect must have confidence in you as an individual. You have to earn this. You convince them that you are truly interested in them and their concerns. You can't fake it. If you don't have a concern and a love for people, and you don't really believe in the mission of your institution - you won't be able to fake it. And you won't be convincing to them. To really listen, you share your ideas, and more importantly, you get the prospect to share his or her ideas. Find answers to their questions and their problems. Give the prospect a real opportunity to talk about what is on his or her mind....
"If you listen, you will find the man, and indeed, you will find his idea and his dream. If you listen carefully and intently, you will discover his passions. You will untangle every riddle, unlock every door. Listening gets the gift. Listening is the poetry of fundraising."
The poetry of fundraising... isn't that awesome? Every time I read that, it makes me want to go out and talk to some more inspirational people.
Your homework assignment this weekend is to apply the above passage in an interpersonal relationship. Heart and soul... listen intently and wholly. Let me know how it goes.