Academy Street Workshop
The Magic Arrow
One thing that most of us really struggle with is asking.
Asking for help
Asking for donations
Asking for sales
We just suck at it.
And there's no particular reason why. We believe in our cause or product. We know that we the person we want to ask is more than likely interested and even if they're not they won't mind being asked but we still find it hard.
When I worked with the Irish Cancer Society I spent a lot of time recruiting volunteers to take join committees and then teaching those volunteers to recruit their own volunteers and supporters.
Now if you've ever had to call people to ask them to do an event, join a committee or even ask them for money the conversation was probably very similar to mine and went something like...
"Hi, I wanted to ask you a favour
now it's ok if you say no and I completely understand if you don't want to do it.
It's only a really small thing.
and maybe you're not interested
but we're doing this event
and we kinda need some people to volunteer
I know you don't really have the time
but is there any way that maybe you might like to, possibly, consider ........"
It was terrible. I spent most of the time talking the person out of saying yes before I'd even asked the question. I knew these people, I knew they'd be at least interested and most would be delighted to be asked. I needed to do something.
So I created the Magic Arrow to help me ask for help. It's a simple tool that can be easily adapted to ask for donations, ask for a meeting, ask for a sale. Here's the original.
I stuck this on my wall and followed it every time I needed to ask somebody to get involved. It goes.
I work for Don Bosco Care
I care about our work because
I believe that every young person in Ireland deserves the right to have a safe home and an opportunity to achieve their potential
I believe that we are making a huge difference to the lives of the young people we work with and are giving them a chance for a better future
I think you'd enjoy getting involved because I know you're very interested in young people and social justice issues
Will you help us organise our event?
It works for all causes and any ask and can be changed to suit your own speaking style, local culture etc. It's just about giving you a structure to shape you conversation.
It's not a trick or even a technique.
But there are two very important pieces
It starts with I - NOBODY gives a damn about your organisation. Organisations are buildings, with articles of association and boards. People give because they believe in the same thing we do and if if I'm asking then I need to explain my beliefs.
The second part is the You part. This is just about matching my beliefs, the work of the organisation and what the person believes in.
It's really simple and it's definitely better than how I used to ask.
Let me know if you find this useful via a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.