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    Andrew Hill

    How do you respond to the Rueben Mayes TEDTalk?  Which strategies resonated with you… and why?

    What has been your perspective as a fundraiser?  As a donor?  Any specific experiences that helped shape your worldview on fundraising?

    What questions are you left holding after this TEDTalk?  Anything we can bring to the class and Michelle’s expertise?

    Holly Gil

    Embrace the ambiguity! It’s not about you! I agree with it all, but fundraising in itself can become a full time job. It is so hard for small nonprofits to dedicate time to fundraising unless they actually invest in it and that takes $. Unfortunately it is difficult to raise $ for personnel. Most people want to give to a project or cause and see it go directly toward that not taking into account that it takes all the people to make it happen too… honestly, this has been a frustrating space for me. I have found the best and most supportive long term donors are those who believe in me and what I stand for more than an individual project although the projects are the easiest ways to raise funds. Also, the measurable outcomes can be tricky too. So often donors want to see that they have a large impact which can dictate how the funds are spent and change the direction of a project. I see this all the time in education…


    I have donated money to several organizations (for specific projects/programs) and have also taken part in fundraising.

    I was part of PIQE and the program had funds already allocated to by the State. We did not have to “fund-raise” in order to support the program. I have found that speaking about a project/program that I am very passionate about to donors (without asking for funds) inspired them to want to donate. I was able to get the donors to relate to the cause without pressuring them to donate. I compare to a someone being more willing to buy a car from a dealer who does not pressure to buy a car than from another who is pushy and desperate to sell.

    It was very different from my experience with the Police Foundation. The purpose of the organization was to specifically fund-raise for the families of police officers who have fallen in the line of duty. It was extremely easy to raise funds for this organization.

    I was able to successfully raise money for these two organization by taking a “pathos” perspective.

    Sumit Singh

    The speaker’s suggestion about not making the ask about oneself but seeing it for what it is (that it is for the organization, the cause, a part of the case for support) is helpful. So is the idea of embracing the ambiguity. His suggestion about asking for a high amount is an interesting one – if asking itself is a bit of a challenge, shooting even higher and asking for a high amount? 😉

    Measurable outcomes and impact are critical for grant proposals (the ask), but they can at times be a bottleneck when one needs funds to get enough data to measure and show impact. This has been a challenge for the proposals that we’ve written for the education nonprofit that I am involved with.


    I like the idea of having a goal. When fundraising or being asked for a donation I do appreciate a specific ask. I haven’t done the high ask but we’ve seen better results when we were specific about the amount we were asking for but also surprised that people were willing to give much more and of course some gave less. I also love the piece on stewardship. I do agree that people like to be seen and thanked. I think some organizations are really great at this and others aren’t.

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