It doesn’t matter if you are asking for a donation, or a sale, authenticity matters. Once upon a time a long time ago while I was working in economic development a State of Ohio project manager got stranded half way up to the project site between Columbus and Montpelier. The building owner could have wrote the day off and accepted the offer to reschedule, but instead what he did reshaped how I view and act in regards to authentic engagement. The building owner drove ninety minutes to pick up the project manager and made sure he not only saw our site, but also made it back to Columbus safely. Was it kind, most certainly. Was it advantageous, absolutely, that is a lot of face time in the car. Could anyone pull it off? No. Why? Because whether it is a ninety minute car ride or one minute email people know when you are being authentic and when you are just trying to ‘sell’ them, and they will respond accordingly.
Almost everyone can share an example of when they felt they engaged in a conversation believing an authentic relationship was developing and then BAM received an ‘ask’ that was clearly neither authentic nor engaging. Can you get a donor or sale operating that way? Maybe, but if you do it will be a ‘one and done’ and you’ve framed yourself forever in that person’s perspective as someone who was not engaging them, but using them. You know what people really don’t like? People don’t like feeling used.
So whether you are asking for donations, trying to make a sale, or even asking for a contact connection, you better know why you are doing it, why it matters to you, and most importantly why it matters to the other party. I recently received a fairly long email ‘ask’ that appeared to be authentic. Then in under twenty-four hours I received a duplicate with about a two line difference from another party. The first felt semi-engaging, the duplicate turned the experience into feeling ‘sold.’ If the approach doesn’t make me feel good why would I share the information with others? Likewise if the donor experience doesn’t make me feel good why would I encourage others to donate?
People are often resistant to making ‘asks’ whether it is for a donation or a sale. Same goes with resistance to giving or buying. The gap between resistance and acceptance is more often than not the lack of or presence of authenticity. It matters.