Charitiy & Activism


The Mission of Leading The Future is to provide the skills, knowledge and support needed (in a fun and respectful environment) so organizations can successfully reach their Missions. This may be accomplished through interactive, hands-on, entertaining training programs, through asset mapping and community coaching projects, through fundraising events, through consulting work, or through retreats and workshops. Leading The Future will use the unique and special gifts the people affiliated with the program to provide all adult learners with the most comprehensive, meaningful and enjoyable training experience.


Activities: donations

January 2005


By Carole Dawn Brinkley
Founder, Leading The Future

Fundraising is a terrifying word for many nonprofit organizations. When I ask most people what they hate most about working in the public sector, nine times out of ten people will tell me that they hate asking for money! People tell me it is uncomfortable, it makes them feel like they are inconveniencing others, or that they are begging. If this sounds like you then you need to read this article.

Nonprofit organizations live and die by the donations they receive. Whether this is a monetary donation, a donation of time or a donation of goods and services, we can not offer our services in quantity or quality without, as Blanche DuBois so eloquently put it in A Streetcar Named Desire, “the kindness of strangers.” The amazing thing is all of us believe in our programs, missions, and clients 1000%. We would not work the countless hours at less than remarkable pay to positively influence the quality of life for our clients if we were not passionately committed.

During my workshops on Fundraising and Grantwriting I tell people that in order to be an effective fundraiser you can not be afraid to ask for what you believe your program deserves. If you do not believe that your program is worth the money, time, or effort, then why should others believe? Think about that for a few moments. So many people ask for money by starting out their proposal with an apology. NEVER apologize for trying to make a positive difference. NEVER!

Have you ever heard of a CEO of a major company going to a bank and apologizing for asking for a loan for expansion? Have you ever heard of a politician starting his or her argument for funding for a project with an apology? Have you ever heard of a teenager starting his or her plea with their parents with an apology? Heck NO! All of these people have a well developed plan before they make their approach to their audience explaining why they MUST have what they want. They have bullet points explaining why it is in the best interest of the audience to invest in their quest. They answer every possible “NO” response with a reason why that “NO” should really be a “YES” before the audience can even think about saying “NO.” Interview a teenager who wants a car, an extension on curfew, or money for an important date. They can show you exactly how to word an unapologetic, passionate plea to support their cause. Why are they so effective in negotiating? Because they believe with 100% certainty in their cause. They have passion, they are committed, they don’t take a “NO” answer as a final answer. They look at a “NO” response as the first step to the “YES” response that they are committed to obtaining! They do not feel guilty for asking, they do not feel like they are bothering their audience, they do not cower and give up if they are rejected. They go back and rework their argument, find a way to address the parental concerns, and come up with more persuasive arguments on why it is in the parent’s best interest to support their needs.

Somewhere along the way we have been taught that asking for what we need is a negative thing. Maybe it starts with the magazine sales and bake sales as kids. Maybe we did not win the prize for most items sold. Maybe our parents groaned and said “Not another fundraiser!” and we learned that raising money and asking our neighbors to support the school was inconvenient. Maybe just talking to others and asking them for something makes us sick to our stomachs. I am here to tell you that if you truly believe that your organization is making a positive difference in the people that you serve, then you must get over your feeling of embarrassment when asking for money. I can give you a million tips and techniques to raise money, but if you are afraid to ask others to support your program then you cannot move forward in your fundraising goals.

I have raised over $3,000,000 in grants, over $300,000 in direct giving and have had people from Sheryl Crow to Steven Covey donate and waive fees to support my programs. Not once did I feel bad about asking them to support my cause. Maybe it is because at one point in time I was a welfare mom with two kids. Maybe it is because my children and I personally benefited from programs that someone else raised money for so we could have a better quality of life. I do not share this information to say “Look what I have done! It is so easy!” I share this information with you to say that if you do not ask for support, you are guaranteed to get absolutely nothing for your program, but if you do ask, in a well prepared, heart felt and eloquent way that shows how supporting your program can benefit your audience, you may be surprised at what you can accomplish! So, I challenge you to hear the word “NO” 100 times this month. During those 100 no’s, you will get at least one”YES”, and that “YES” may be the “YES” that enables you to start a new program, help another person, or change a life!