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In our last blog we talked about the importance of understanding your donors' feelings about money before you ask them for some. But before you start exploring your donors' attitudes about money, have you examined your own?
It's important to understand your own feelings about money for two reasons:
1. You have to understand your own feelings about money before you can really understand someone else's.
Every time you ask for a gift, you have to put yourself in the donor's shoes - how would he or she like to be asked? There is no cookie-cutter approach; you have to tailor each ask to each individual donor, taking his or her unique attitude about money into account. How can you understand and empathize with a donor's emotions about money if you haven't taken an honest look at your own?
2. Your own personal feelings about money affect the way you ask for a gift.
The emotions that you attach to money are going to be present in you when you make an ask. Even if you're not aware of it, these emotions will be running in the background while you're talking to your donor about giving. According to financial expert Suze Orman, the three most common emotions surrounding money are fear, shame, and anger. If you're like most of us and you associate any of these emotions with money, then fear, shame, and/or anger are going to come up when you ask for a gift - and your donor is going to pick up on it, either consciously or unconsciously. If you haven't identified the emotions you associate with money, how will you be able to notice when they are affecting your ask?
So what does money mean to you? What adjectives describe your view of money? What words do you associate associate with the idea of money? What are some things that you feel money is or should be used for? Think about these questions and journal about them to really get to know the emotions attached to your idea of money. If you do, it's going to make you a better fundraiser.
Orman, Suze. The Courage to Be Rich: Creating a Life of Material and Spiritual Abundance. New York: Riverhead, 2002. Print.