Accepting “No” & Moving On

Dear Kim,

I am the executive director of a small environmental justice organization focused on organizing a community to stand up to a large and highly polluting CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.) We have recently had some victories but need to keep pushing. One of our board members comes from quite a wealthy family and he has been very generous himself plus raised a lot of money from family and friends. But recently we needed an extra $10,000 very quickly so I went to him and he said he couldn’t give anything right now. I didn’t say anything but I was really upset. The man has more money than all of us put together! I need to get him to change his mind. How can I do that?

~Frustrated in Pig Land

Dear Frustrated,

I can’t help you “get him to change his mind.” What I can hope to do is get you to change your mind. You are letting his wealth get in the way of your common sense and of what you know about fundraising. You exercised your right to ask him for an extra gift and he exercised his right to turn you down. That is all that happened. Fundraising is an invitation, and when anyone is invited to do anything, they can accept or turn down the invitation or take a rain check. Fundraisers should not be in the business of “getting people” to do anything. We are not in law enforcement. What you need to do is find some other way to raise $10,000 and not be so dependent on one person.

I wish you luck with the important work you do, and I can tell you that many, many people are rooting for you and will help you if you reach out and ask.

~Kim Klein