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I Dare Me: Asking for Money

As told to Elisheva Appel

To get my feet wet, I decide to leave the largest donors for the end and start with the low-hanging fruit, like my grandmother

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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Introducing…

I’m a mother of five, a teacher, public speaker, and successful entrepreneur. I have friends and students and colleagues. The school I teach in is also the school my kids attend, so I totally believe in its mission.

But asking for money…?

When the executive director asks if I would consider joining the annual fundraising drive, I think to myself, “Are you crazy?” but for some reason I put on a big smile and say, “Of course!”

 

The Challenge

I do a little soul-searching to figure out what the big deal is. I’m uncomfortable putting people on the spot and asking them to part with their money, and I’m really uncomfortable at the thought of them saying no to me.

Also, I could probably handle asking people, “Can we count on you to repeat your previous donation?” but this year they’re pushing us to increase everyone’s donations! To me, that’s a disaster.

But I’m a big girl, and I’m going to take this list and get through it.

 

Getting ready

They put us a through a mini-fundraising crash course and give us a script. They do a great job on the propaganda — I’d totally give money to me if I called. I practice in the mirror a bunch of times. I also retain the right to choose who’s on my list. I draw the line at calling my students’ parents, or anyone else I would feel too uncomfortable imposing on.

 

To get my feet wet, I decide to leave the largest donors for the end and start with the low-hanging fruit, like my grandmother. Turns out, family doesn’t actually want to hear your carefully prepared spiel. They just cut in, “No, it’s fine, bubbaleh, where should we mail the check?” People don’t really have patience for the pitch: Stop talking and just tell me what you’re collecting for.

These warm-up calls are empowering, even though I know Bubby isn’t donating because of my stellar performance. But... with a little practice, maybe I can do this.

 

My dare role model: 

My dad. This is what he did, and continues to do all day: “I’ll just do this random terrifying thing, pick up my entire family, move across the world to start a kiruv program even though I have no money, wake up in a sweat every night wondering how to make my budget.” He taught me to never think you can’t — if you don’t let fear get in the way, you can always accomplish what you put your mind to. He experienced neis after neis, always knowing Hashem would make it work out. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 594)

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