People Stalking

on in Fundraising

Sounds kind of creepy, right?

But isn’t that what fundraising really is – not term-paper-writing, or www.research, but people following?

Connecting the dots – this person knows that person who might put us together with this other individual who’s known to care about the issues we address.

I am reminded of this because it is high event season – time for meeting-and-greeting, evening after evening. Time for connecting, and asking your friends to introduce you to their friends (and colleagues) – all so you can open the door to someone who might care about your work.

And fund it…

This doesn’t happen by accident. Take the gala “assignment list.” It’s a list of the folks you hope to engage with, that you draft based on the likely attendance the day before. Sometimes these people come late (and sometimes they don’t show at all); but sometimes they come right when they’re supposed to and end up talking to the person by the punch bowl cause they didn’t know anyone else in the room.

You have to find them.

half_open_door.jpgNot as hard as it used to be, in this day and age of Google images. But still a little awkward: “Are you Suzy Jones? I’ve heard so much about you!” when you hadn’t been in a position to hear much of anything at all.

And then – after that opening salvo – what do you say?

You ask questions. About their kids, their connection to the Bronx, their education – anything that ties their own experiences with the mission of the organization and gets them talking.

When you’ve been people-stalking and you meet up with the object of your quest, your job is not to seal the deal.

Your job is to open the door – a crack.

To start a conversation that can be continued…another time.

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