My 8 year-old daughter recently was struggling to decide what she was going to dress up as for Halloween. She was back and forth between a current Disney TV character (that I’d never heard of) and the ever- magical Mary Poppins. It wasn’t until we were shopping in a craft store that she decided she wanted to be a stylish bat. She picked out all the pieces of the costume in one fell swoop…wings, leggings, skirt and a mask.
It was the mask that made me pause and think….the power and ambiguity of a mask. It made me reflect on all the masks that we wear or experience others wearing every single day. The description of a mask is to cover up or disguise the reality with something that is not true or unreal.
I’m often in conversations with board members, organizational leaders and yes even fundraisers about the fear they share in making the ask and the “mask” they put on during this role.
I often remind them that preparation is your biggest partner when it comes to the ask. It’s okay to be nervous, excited and even reticent the first time but when one is prepared, can articulate the intention and most importantly inspire the prospect ….the ask will and should come easy.
Fundraising is not something you should do with a mask on. It is not something done under disguise. It needs be sincere and authentic. The relationship you establish is fundamental to the prospect believing in and supporting the cause. They want to know you or at least the motivations of who is doing the asking. Unmask your hesitations during this “fun” and challenging time. Ditching the mask, being prepared, displaying humility yet staying confident are some of the key ingredients for a successful approach. Be yourself…they will know when you aren’t and they will see right through you when you have your mask on.
by: Tim Kennedy, Associate Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions