It is sometimes OK to say ‘no’.
This fundraising tip is going to sound a bit strange, coming from me, as I am very mindful that the struggle to fill volunteer positions is a biggie in fundraising.
The advice I am going to give today is… it is sometimes OK to say ‘no’.
We all go through times in our lives where things get a ‘bit much’. Everything is either happening at once or for whatever reason we are simply not at the top of our game. It is very important to know our own limits, even when the need for our help is perceived as desperate.
It is equally important as a fundraising co-ordinator to try to be sensitive to our volunteers and respect their limits, as you never know what someone is dealing with at any point in time. In the longer term, you will avoid burnout and negative experiences with volunteering. You will also be respecting the need of every person to look after themselves first.
I can share my own example. I am (no surprises!) a compulsive volunteer. I have been forever active in fundraising at my children’s school, and on every fete committee since the dawn of time. This year, with a brand new baby in tow, 3 big kids to run around after and the Fundraising Directory that still needed my love, I said ‘no’ to helping with the fete for the first time.
I held my ground even in the face of an impassioned call the week before: ‘Help – the silent auction still doesn’t have a co-ordinator on the day’! I knew in myself that it would have been too much for me.
Guess what…. someone else stepped up and the world kept turning – it’s ok – saying no to fundraisers is sometimes the only option.
On the flip side, make sure you say ‘YES’ every time you possibly can! It’s great for the soul.
Originally published September 1, 2014