Several years ago, the director of a non-profit I support invited me to come to have a cup of coffee. I was told the team wanted to share about some new programs and the progress the non-profit was making. The meeting was set up as if they were only going to share about their latest news. However, in the end, the reason for my visit was revealed and they started talking about my annual contribution. I was caught off guard and somewhat offended by the surprise solicitation for money and felt it would have been better if I had known it was coming.
I learned recently that I’m not alone with feeling this way. I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Lynette Zimmerman, president and CEO of Key Elements Group, LLC last week. Lynette consults with non-profits on strategic fundraising. She said what I experienced was unfortunately common mistakes people make when asking for support: asking too soon and not being straightforward about it.
Lynette and I spoke about the importance of building relationships for long-term support, with the key first step being to ‘not ask for support’. She stresses that your first meeting with a person or group should be to share about what you do and also, just as important, to learn about their interests.
Applying this approach to organizational change.
Recalling my experience and then learning how Lynette approaches the need for support got me thinking about how it applies to organizational change. Lynette's approach is crucial for strategic fundraising and very applicable to any business situation where you are trying to gain support for a project or idea. When employees are caught off guard and feel uniformed and excluded, their level of support will be grumbling at best. But, if we involve our team on the frontend, value their input and are willing to be influenced by their input, then when it comes time to ask for their support, they will be our biggest allies.
Below is a link to my conversation with Lynette on The Energy Bar Podcast. I hope you take a few minutes to listen to her approach and apply it.
This post was first publish on LinkedIn.