Connect, Then Ask Without Shame

Nonprofits must always be asking for support.  The majority that fundraise for their budgets craft compelling proposals to foundations, generous individuals, and government funders.  Those that advocate for change ask for our attention and our actions. From my very first months in my first nonprofit job, where I was involved in fundraising, I learned from my mentors the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) practice of relationship cultivation leading up to "the ask."

Here is a wholly fresh take on the art of asking, in the form of a phenomenal TED talk by the musician Amanda Palmer.  She's talking to her fellow artists, but I think her insights fall into the "general instructions for enlightened living" category and certainly have relevance to nonprofiteers.

She says: Connect. Then ask without shame.

Connect.  Then give people the opportunity to support your work.

Connect.  There are people who will gladly underwrite what you are doing -  and who will be grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Asking isn't always easy, but there is a way for it to feel fair, meaningful, and connected on both sides of the table.