This is not my usual post.

It isn’t so much about fundraising as about my experience while a fundraiser and what has surfaced with the #YesAllWomen campaign that became viral after the recent murder spree in Isla Vista, California.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read Jezebel, The Globe and Mail (which touches on the #NotAllMen issue) and a thoughtful piece in the Washington Post.

When I read the tweets and the experiences that were familiar and not unusual, I was moved to share.

TheTweet“This is what you do to me,” he said to me as he pulled my hand toward his crotch.  I was shocked and horrified. This did not feel like a compliment. Continue reading

Remove the Relationship Roadblocks

Team Dinner, London 2013

Team Dinner, London 2013

Yesterday in my team’s Prospect Management meeting (a conference call across eight time zones), we listened to a colleague talk about a recent prospect meeting. The dinner meeting included my colleague, our “Key Exec,” a “Key Faculty Member” and the prospect – a prospect my colleague had brought to the table as a previous relationship and had been cultivating very well.

In planning for the meeting with this prospect, our Key Exec wanted to start the evening by playing a video that provides an overview of our organization. My colleague pushed back and the idea was dropped.

However, what followed was a conversation the prospect describe to my colleague as “stilted”. The Key Exec launched into a long overview about the organization (which my colleague had provided during several previous meetings) with little break for comments or questions from the prospect. Over the course of the meal, there was little room for (or the ability for my colleague to make space for) either the Key Faculty Member or the prospect to chip in naturally.

Now a “roadblock.” The prospect didn’t leave with a good feeling, which he communicated to my colleague. It is a terrible feeling for a fundraiser when a prospect has signaled his or her enthusiasm and an unfortunate relationship roadblock occurs and stops momentum.RockInRoad

I’ve worked closely with this Key Exec. He is smart and can be charming. He can adeptly pivot conversations with donors and prospects to find the sweet spot of their interests. After the call, I reflected on some issues that may be at play. I wondered, how do we, as fundraisers, remove those relationship roadblocks?

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As a fundraiser, sometimes there is just not enough time for the job and all the other things you want to do in your life.

What I did have time for was worrying. And telling myself to stop worrying. Again and again.

Why was I worrying?

Last week, we received confirmation that the solicitation meeting was with a key donor – finally! Are you ready?

It was for an ask for a Very Big Gift – the VBG. It happened yesterday.

It doesn’t matter the gift level I’m speaking of… in every development office there comes a time when that VBG – whatever the level for your organization – becomes a possibility.

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