By Emily Reineke
I’ve always hated asking for money. The first time I ever asked for money was to help fund a service trip in college. Since I didn’t know any better, I sent short (and probably very cryptic) emails to my family and friends and awkwardly asked for a check. That was my first (and last) fundraising experience.
Since that fateful day 8 years ago, I have avoided asking for money. That is, until I became Board Chair of YNPNdc and we were awarded a match grant from the The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. This grant specified that if YNPNdc can raise $5,000 from individual donors, The Cafritz Foundation will match the $5,000 donation. While I was thrilled about this opportunity for YNPNdc and excited about expanding our donor base, the college kid inside of me was petrified that this venture would be a failure like the last time I asked for money.
Baring my hesitancy, and after soliciting advice from a few good friends, I decided that the only way I was going to get better at asking for money was to do it. So, I did, and after a year of talking about this match grant and asking for donations, I’ve learned a few things. The most important of which is that asking for a donation isn’t a burden, it’s a blessing. When you ask for a donation, you give others the opportunity to make an impact. I was surprised that a lot of people were happy to donate, and honored that I reached out to them to ask.
The other top 5 lessons learned include:
- Your network is larger than you think, and people are more generous than you think
- If you are passionate about your cause, people want to donate to help you succeed
- Each time you ask for a donation, it becomes easier and more comfortable
- If you don’t ask, you will never receive; ask and keep asking
- A lot of people will not donate, but you can still reach your goals
So with two months left and about $1,500 left to raise to reach our goal, I’d like to ask you to donate $10, $15, or $20 to help YNPNdc continue offering networking and professional development opportunities for the greater DC nonprofit community; your donation makes a big difference.
Emily Reineke finished her term as YNPNdc Board Chair on August 1, 2014. She currently works for NASPAA: The Global Standard in Public Service Education and is passionate about changing the world through service. Follow her on twitter @kroywen23.