Thursday, October 23, 2014
by Mark Beckwith
Today's blog is from Nevus Outreach Executive Administrator Taylor Scott, who assists me in more ways than I can remember. We continue ongoing conversation about how to continue making the mission of Nevus Outreach possible. Nevus Outreach is dedicated to improving awareness and providing support for people affected by congenital melanocytic nevi, and finding a cure. As you can imagine, fundraising is vital to this end. Taylor writes:
I found this great article I wanted to share with you. This article assuaged some of my fundraising fears as I definitely consider myself a novice fundraiser. While I feel a certain amount of heart burn when asking for money, I have found the best way to do it is just to do it. If you’re a novice fundraiser, embrace the fact that you’re a novice and nothing will make you better faster than practicing. I would encourage you to practice on your friends! This article has a great script to help you start a dialogue.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way talking about money has become a little taboo, but in doing this we dull the sword we are working with. Non-profits, whether they are churches, schools, hospitals, patient association, the NFL (ok, maybe this doesn’t apply to the last one), but they all require the love and financial support of donors. Whether you donate $5 on a reoccurring basis or a much larger amount on a one-time basis, you are the “life-blood” of these organizations. With your help they flourish and without it they whither. The longer our tools sit unused the more “rusty” your skill set becomes. This is evident in my generation (under 30 years old) who statistically have little concept of philanthropy, and is also evident in the rarity of available development directors in the non-profit world.
Whether you work for a non-profit or not, everyone should be aware of either: how to raise money or how to be a smart steward of that money. That day will come when you too find a cause you’re passionate about and I hope this is a tool you’ll have in your belt.
If you have any further questions, feel free to send me an email; I would love start a dialogue with you.
Thanks, Taylor. I encourage everyone reading this to drop Taylor a note and say what's on your mind about how to improve our success with our mission. I've got to tell you, though, that I don't think asking your friends for money comes easily to anyone. If the truth were known, I suspect we would all prefer for all of us to have all the money we need at all times for everything. Right? Well - we also know that's not possible.
I also caution anyone who takes the advice to just quit putting it off and ask them to remember that all relationships benefit from being nurtured. Remember there is a lot more that has to go on within any relationship first, before it's appropriate to enlist their support of your favorite cause.
A very interesting example of how philanthropy is changing before our eyes is it wasn't a bunch of old people out there dumping ice on themselves and calling out their friends. You think? And I love all the armchair quarterbacking going on, trying to make sense of it (Kudos to Heather Etchevers). I have already attended two seminars about the Ice Bucket Challenge. The takehome is - nobody knows what the takehome is!
The secret is, look at how it engaged people! If you have fresh ideas about how to engage people in what we are all doing together at Nevus Outreach, I would love to see the comments below light up with those ideas! It all starts with you (or me, or any of us) engaging people. Our friends are just an easy place to start. We can't engage your friends to join you and me in support of our favorite charity, without your help.
Let us know how we can help get those conversations started.