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Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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2.2 Feeling confident to ask

Many of us feel awkward about asking people for things. It often seems intrusive. It flies in the face of the accepted conventions of polite, interpersonal behaviour. To begin to get a sense of how to be more confident and effective in asking individuals for support, think about your own feelings and approach.

Activity 3 How confident are you about asking?

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

Consider each of the following requests. Type yes or no into the blank cells to indicate which you would feel confident about and which you would feel uneasy about. Write down why you think you would feel this way about each scenario.

Table 1 How confident are you in asking for a donation?
ScenarioConfidentUneasy
Asking a member of your family for a loan of £10
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Asking a member of your family for a loan of £5,000
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Making a house-to-house collection for a national charity
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Making a house-to-house collection for a local hospital
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Asking your immediate colleagues to donate to the leaving present of a colleague
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Asking a local business to contribute to the purchase of a minibus for your child’s school
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Asking a meeting to donate to a pressure group of which you are a member
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Phoning someone ‘cold’ (that is, knowing nothing about them other than their name and phone number) to ask for a donation of £50
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Taking a long-standing contributer to your organisation to dinner to ask her to leave some money to your organisation in her will
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Words: 0
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Comment

Here are some of the reasons people commonly give when asked why they are confident or uneasy when asking for money.

Confident

  • I know who I am talking to and how they are likely to respond.
  • I believe strongly in what I am asking for.
  • I know exactly what I am asking for and why.
  • I never ask for more than someone can afford.
  • I like talking to people – however fleetingly.
  • Without learning to ask, we simply would not have been able to have an orchestra.
  • I try to be as honest and open as I can – and not pretend that I am more confident or sure than I am.
  • If you don’t harangue people or use moral pleading, then the vast majority of people are quite nice and enjoy being able to contribute.
  • I found I could handle this asking business as soon as I stopped expecting that everyone ought to agree with me. I always try to respect their right to say no to my request.

Uneasy

  • I am unsure of my own commitment. I always feel that I am conning people.
  • I am afraid people will say no.
  • I don’t like getting into arguments.
  • I don’t like being rejected.
  • I basically don’t agree with asking for money for social welfare. I think its funding should come from taxation.
  • I feel I am intruding on people’s privacy.
  • I know it sounds funny, but I think we ought to be able to manage on what we’ve got already.
  • I don’t like rich people – they make me feel angry and uncomfortable – and I don’t think we should ask poor people.
  • It’s just begging on a large scale and I find it is demeaning to me and to the people I ask.
  • As a disabled person I want rights, not charity.
  • I can’t get rid of the sense that I am a second-hand car dealer.