By Susan Brockway
Yesterday when I came home from work I was again inundated with envelopes asking for money. “Won’t you help us send one child to camp?”, “Did you know that your $5 will help purchase an animal to help a family become self supportive?” and many more on a daily and weekly basis that contain the same message; send a check.
Most people do not know that I actually give a substantial percentage of my income each year to groups and agencies that support missions I feel strongly about.
However, hundreds of solicitations go in the trash unopened, especially from organizations to which I send regular checks, and I am simply caught in their mass mailing circle like a hamster on a wheel.
Times are tough. I know. I’m president of the board of a local Feeding America food bank, and the demands are overwhelming. All non-profits are in desperate need of cash. Many will fail.
But fundraising tactics are becoming counterproductive.
Think about this: What about starting (and maintaining) non-profit relationships with conversation that doesn’t involve an "ask." (I actually had this occur yesterday–pleasant surprise). Not necessarily asking for money on the first call, but starting with a conversation about this issue, the work of the agency, and sincerely asking for perspective on how we as a society should approach the challenges at hand. Would that allow you to open your mind and become a partner in the fight? Would you engage and not tune out? Are there other ways to open the door to honest engagment without wasting trees and online bandwidth? Let me know what you think.