Five Tips for Overcoming Fundraising Fears

Ok, we’ve all been there.

You know what you need to be doing. . .  but you just — you just — you just — manage to find something else to focus on that’s lots more interesting and certainly less dreadful.

Yikes! Do I HAVE to make that call?

There’s that moment when you are able to put it off, just a little longer, because you’re not so sure of yourself and you just may be a teensy bit afraid.

It’s easy to feel like your prospective donor is way high up on a hill, far, far away from you. And it’s even easier to feel like a tiny speck on their horizon.

What to do?

Here are five tips for breaking through paralysis so you can make it happen!

1. Remember how important your work really is.

Remember who’s depending on you to help them find food and shelter. An education. Clean water. Aid in a crisis. And more than you can ever know.

Remember how much depends on what you do every day. Remind yourself that every single thing you do makes a difference.

There’s just too much at stake to let embarrassment about money stand in the way.

Isn’t it?

2. Face your fear head on.

One of my wildly successful dear friends once said to me “Go where you are most afraid.”

She said that motto has helped her plow through her personal roadblocks and become the great success she is today.

Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.– Dan Rather

3. Be willing to fail.

Somebody said to me once, “If you want to do something badly enough, you’ve got to be willing to fail at it while you learn.

One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something better.  Col. Harland Sanders

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.   Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. Be persistent.

Keep at it. If you don’t feel good today, then hit it again tomorrow. Keep banging your head against the wall if you have to. Go back to the well of all those good qualities you learned as a kid – good old commitment, perseverance  and dedication.

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.   Louis Pasteur

Instead of giving yourself reasons why you can’t, why don’t you try giving yourself reasons why you can?

5. Give yourself a deadline, with a reward after you meet it.

Sometimes I’ll give myself a chocolate chip ice cream cone from Baskins and Robbins as a reward after a particularly trying deadline.

Or better for my health – a walk around the park.

I find having something to look forward to really helps me set priorities and focus on meeting the goal.

Whether it’s a phone call I don’t want to make, or an email I’m reluctant to send, or even a meeting that is nerve-wracking, try a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down easier. : )

Are these helpful? Leave me a comment and let me know!

  • Amy Eisenstein

    Great hints, Gail. Good tips for board members and for those new to the profession of fundraising. I always find that procrastination is the worst enemy of effective fundraising. Another good thing to keep in mind – the worst thing that can happen is that they say “no,” in which case you are still no worse off than before you asked. A “no” should not be taken personally. If they say “yes” you are a whole lot better off.

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