Imagine, if you will…
It’s Saturday morning, and today is the 1st day of neighborhood canvassing, today is the 1st day of knocking on strange doors to ask for money, today is the first day of possible back to back rejections, today is the first day of getting mauled by the neighborhood’s precious canine community – that’s right – today is that day.
But I’m still sitting on the couch with a stomach full of butterflies and honey nut cheerios.
I am the lion of Oz and I need to find some courage. So I look for advice from my most trusted advisor, Google. Starting simple, I search”how to fundraise” and “how to ask for money.” Google advises me to bat my eyelids and to use “the look” to hypnotize and manipulate your audience into giving money. First of all, I can’t bat my eyelids without popping a contact out like a floor-seeking scud missile, and secondly, what does using “the look” even look like? This was no help. The search must continue.
“How do you door to door?”
“Canvassing for Dummies”
“What is stranger danger?”
I was getting nowhere fast; I was losing daylight, and still was lacking in the necessary ‘cojones’ to begin canvassing. So I peel my eyes off the computer screen, slip into a nice pair of jorts (jean shorts) and start walking to the farmers’ market in hope of finding some locally grown inspiration. Nothing at the smoothie stand. Nothing at the spice rack. And nothing at the candy shop, except a delicious sample of homemade bark. It’s almost 1 o’clock and all I’ve done is eat! So what do I do? Look for something to drink. I go to grab some apple cider from the Amish fruit stand. With the half gallon of awesome in my hand, I turn to leave and run into two of my best friends from school, Nora and Mangrove.
They are giving a tour to Mangrove’s mom and grandma. We give each other hugs and hellos and then they ask me what I’m doing at market. I answered, “Eating,” and then Mangrove told them about our blog and wanted me to explain our bike trip to her family. So I do. No problem. And they loved it! So much that Mangrove’s grandma is compelled to break out the purse. But I stop her because I wasn’t asking them for money, and I don’t know, I felt bad. No one likes asking for money, and naturally, I feel like we (as people) are conditioned not to accept it, out of some sense of modesty, pride or something else, but granny insisted. What I didn’t know was that Mangrove’s grandma was actually quite the successful business woman and that she has been asking people for money her whole life.
“What do you mean you don’t want the money? Honey, listen, if you want to make a difference, you’re gonna have to stop all that nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with asking for money, because it’s not for you, it’s for the people that need it the most. If you want to make a difference, the first thing you have to do is stop being sorry, then you need to understand that people SHOULD be giving you their money. If they don’t give it to you, they’re just going to spend it on cigarettes. You are doing something amazing and that much is clear after just talking to you for a minute. Just talk to people like you just talked to us, and you’ll be fine. You’ve got it, just use it.”
And that was it.
And it was exactly what I needed to hear. It is ranked among my top ten pep talks of all time, rivaling such greats as the Janitor speech from Rudy, Gene Hackman in in the Hoosier locker room, and even the slurred and belligerent words of Rocky Balboa’s true teacher, Mickey.
She was right. 4Walls4All speaks for itself, we just need to tell the story.
Three hours and 200 doors later, I had raised over $650 for our trip. The future never looked so bright. If we can canvass with the same success over the summer, just imagine how many families we can help.
The day is young and there are still a lot more doors in Lancaster that need some knockin’ on.