Deep Breath: Just Make the Ask
Asking people for money is hard. It's rarely something that you want to do. And it's even harder when you don't have a tangible thing to hand people after the transaction. I don't feel any different even though it's for the Walk to End Alzheimer's.
I've been on the planning committee for the Philadelphia Walk to End Alzheimer's for 7 years at this point. I'm now the event chair and I gotta say asking for sponsorship is the last thing I want to do. It's also a really big part of being able to do what we do. So, in stepping into this role this year, I just had to accept the Nike slogan and "just do it."
Here are some of the things I do that help.
Take a deep breath
Honestly, everything starts with taking a deep breath, doesn't it? But in this case, it's to clear your mind of all of the negative thoughts before you've even gotten the words out of your mouth.
In my case, I usually think up a few ways that people could decline my offer, sometimes ways that are not very kind to me. So, as I exhale I take what my yoga instructor would call a "lion's breath" and visualize that my exhale has blown all of those thoughts away.
Be my own hype man
I know I'm not sending people home with a MacBook Pro or anything — but what I'm offering is not nothing, either!
As I ask people for sponsorship, I am offering them the opportunity to help more than 6 million Americans who are living with Alzheimer's, and their caregivers. I'm offering them the chance to contribute to a moment in history and a scientific breakthrough. I might offer some exposure to a group of thousands in a prized area. I'm definitely offering visibility in front of a group of individuals who are fiercely loyal to brands that are supporting this community.
What I remind myself is that we're offering one hell of a product and it will reap benefits a lot longer than a Macbook Pro. What's more, I'm a perfect conduit to help to make that happen. I know my facts, I am a compelling orator and I can usually answer the question, "What's in it for me?"
So after a little pep talk, I'm ready to make an ask.
Maybe I'm asking for free product to incentivize more money being earned for the cause. Maybe it's a new partnership where we can swap goods and services, thereby leaving the cash for the research and support services. Maybe it's a couple of thousand dollars to help put on the number 1 Walk to End Alzheimer's in the country.
Whatever the donation, I'm extremely grateful to anyone who listens to my pitch. I'm even more thankful for those who are able to tell me "yes." And I am always willing to understand that people's circumstances are fluid and while it's a "no" today, it may not be tomorrow.
I'm also grateful that I get to do this work. That I get to spend my time pounding the pavement for this community and this cause. I'm grateful that I have a task to accomplish and put my heart into so that we will ultimately achieve a world without Alzheimer's.
Do you know the difference between Alzheimer's & Parkinson's disease-related dementia?