“Please join our board. Don’t worry, you won’t have to ask!” How many times do we invite people to join our boards–presumably the groups of our most committed believers–only to tell them right up front that they won’t have to ask people for money.
Frankly, if we can’t get past a little discomfort and ask people to help support the things we believe in, we’re not doing our job as board members. And our lack of courage will pervade every aspect of our organizations.
I understand as well as the next person that asking is scary. People might say no. They might think we’re foolish. Our organizations might not be perfect. And some people might run the other way when they see us in the parking lot.
Let’s have the courage to insist that our board members walk the walk and talk the talk.
But rather than shying away from asking, let’s think about the power that comes from strong commitment. Let’s make commitment and asking prerequisites for our board members. Let’s have the courage to insist that our board members walk the walk and talk the talk. In doing so, we will create stronger organizations that will, in turn, lead to a better future.
So, the next time you ask someone to serve on your board, do it this way.
“We look long and hard for the right board members and we think you may be one of those people. We are looking for people who can truly champion our cause to the fullest extent of their abilities.We are looking for people with the courage to stand up for what we believe in, and yes, with the courage to ask.”
Imagine what it would feel like to serve on a board in which every board member had been approached in this fashion. I’m sure you’d be proud to be a member!
“While we understand that asking for money is challenging for many people, we know that board members who aren’t willing to ask will weaken our organization. And we feel strongly enough about the difference we make in the world not to let that happen. In this organization, we take asking seriously as it provides the fuel that enables us to make a difference in the world.”
“We will train you to ask and provide every support you need. If, despite that, you don’t think you’ll be able to find that level of commitment in your heart, then we don’t think you’ll be the right match for our group. So please consider carefully before agreeing to serve.”
For resources on building boards, see this compilation.
See more from Asking Matters co-founder Andrea Kihlstedt – read what she has to say about making asking easier.