I can remember the time like it was only yesterday however many Christmases have passed since that day. You know in the back of your mind, and you keep telling yourself, that you’re good at sales but this is fundraising and I don’t actually have anything tangible to sell.
I really believe in the cause and other people should also think it is a worthy cause deserving of a small regular donation. But what happens if I just keep getting rejected! I asked the business lady rushing down the street, next the elderly couple wandering towards the coffee shop, I even try a man who is dressed up to do some exercise.
They all seemed friendly enough however no one wanted to stop and although I get encouraging smiles (well, I tell myself they are encouraging smiles) I haven’t even got to speak to someone about the amazing charity that I am representing.
Then I spot him walking towards me. He is pretty big and a few rough looking tattoos are prominently featured on his arms and neck. I remind myself how great the charity that I am representing is and clear my throat so as not scare him with a shriek or mumbled introduction.
With confidence I introduce myself and to my surprise he stops and says hello. On one hand I’m thinking, please don’t hurt me, on the other I’m excited that I have the chance to talk about the charity. I explain about the need, I talk about the solution, I give him a few ideas of how a regular donation can make such a huge difference, I then ask him if he is keen to help……is this going to be my first sign up? “Mate, I need to check with the missus?”. I think this was the last response I was expected to hear, however he actually didn’t say “no”.
I tell him I understand and that I think she would be very impressed that he cared so much about our cause and reminded him of the huge difference even a small regular donation would make.
I am actually feeling pretty good about our conversation. We exchange some chat and then he reaches for his pocket. I hope this is a good sign. The next three words will always stay with me… “Why not mate”. I grab my pen and started writing down his details (ok, it was a while ago and no fancy iPads where around) and got him to fill in all the relevant boxes for age, intention to give for at least 2 years and the monthly amount that he was happy to give on an ongoing basis.
We were bonded by humanity and we both knew the difference this was going to make. He walked away with a smile, while my excitement level was similar to that feeling you get on Christmas morning when you’re a kid. I didn’t know what to do next, tell my Mum, friends or manager. I ended up doing none of these, instead I just reflected how much of difference I just made for someone’s life – both the new donor and the people I was representing for my charity. I was hooked. I couldn’t wait for my next conversation.