A recent LinkedIn post mentioned that it’s the relationship that counts, not the ask.
It had several likes, and I can see why. In this profession, many are “confrontation-reluctant” (an “ask” is confrontational). It’s a soft, vanilla industry that we’re in, and we like the easy way out. We’re all about cultivating a positive attitude and taking the slow road to success.
The top 5% in our industry know that fundraising is marketing and sales and that an “ask” is critical.
Unfortunately, a segment in our community would rather play touch football. Sorry, but major gifts and planned giving is a full contact sport.
I had a great relationship with my wife before we got married. Why did I get married? Because I made the “ask.” So which one is more important?
Most of the time, they both are.
You will never get the gift unless you ask, although I have seen some instances in which people get the gift with no relationship at all. (In fact, I’ve even see marriages without relationships — and that’s why therapists are in business.)
So, let’s talk about attitudes in our careers. Is a positive attitude alone a must to succeed? No. With a positive attitude you need to “act.”
Hmm … ask and act. So much in common:
- They’re both three letter words.
- They’re both action items.
- They’re both difficult tasks.
Several years ago I believed it was all about relationships too. I spoke at conferences (for free; even paid my way), gave out free books, free advice, made friends and built up solid relationships that I still maintain. At one conference in Houston, a lady walked up to me and said, “Viken, you are wonderful. I can’t believe how much you taught us today … all for free!” The next morning I discovered that she signed up for the services with another company. Why?
I never made the ask.
So I woke up. And asked myself: Is it the relationship, or the ask?
Bottom Line? A Positive Attitude is Simply Not Enough to Be Successful!
A positive attitude alone is worthless, just as is carrying on a relationship without making the ask.
You need both. Attitude and action go hand-in-hand. You can’t take the easy way out to succeed.