Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Effective Gab

Glossary of canvassing terms:
Rap: The conversation you have at a door.
Contact: The person you speak to at a door.
Turf: The neighborhood or area in which you work.
Burb: The van or suburban vehicle that delivers you to turf.

Last night I had a breakthrough with fundraising. I more than doubled my standard (meaning I raised more than twice what is expected of me in one night) and I didn't work all that hard to do it. I had nice long conversations with supporters that kept my energy and momentum up through the night and helped me feel great about the work.

One of my biggest problems with fundraising and sales can be my gift of gab. I like to talk to people. People like to talk to me. But sometimes I mistake the talkers for people who want to donate. Eric, one of our team leaders, gave me a tip last week when I talked to him about this problem. I had spent more than 45 minutes talking in a woman's living room and I was so sure she was going to write a check for $120 because she was so excited about our work. She ended up only writing a check for $25 and I didn't make standard that night. When I told Eric about this, he laughed. He told me about when he was on a cross train in New York and he climbed this hill way up to this lady's house in the snow. She invited him in and he was talking with her forever because she was wealthy and extremely interested. But then her husband didn't want her to donate, so she only wrote a check for $10. Eric's advice to me was "do business first; chat with the supporters later." So that's what I did last night. I qualified supporters and then stayed and chatted with them about the environment after I knew how much they were going to give.

It worked perfectly. Simple tips are so great, aren't they? So last night I only knocked on about 45 doors. I spoke with 28 people. And I collected four sixty-dollar checks and a fifty-dollar bill (in addition to some smaller donations). That was really efficient use of my time -- particularly in the heat (although last night was much more pleasant than Monday night).

I also met some great people who really love the work we do and had time to spend with them to talk about related environmental issues. One supporter brought up the plastic trash vortex in the ocean. It's totally disgusting. He had seen a documentary on TV about it over the weekend. I saw a video on Youtube about a month or so ago. Phenomenal. Check it out...

I also met a wonderful woman whose husband of more than sixty years died in July. His ashes were in an urn on her mantle, next to a painting he'd done of a Great Lakes Tall Ship. I dabble in painting, too, and always enjoy seeing the work of another self-trained Michigan artist. It was a hobby for him, not a profession. Unfortunately I left his name at work. I'll update this post later with the name. The photo will show up at the top of this story. I haven't fiddled around with the blog enough yet to know how to place photos strategically.

1 comment:

  1. What a disturbing video! Thank you for caring about the environment.