Today in Sociology 183, our class was given an amazing opportunity to have Karin Chao-Bushoven as our guest speaker. Karin is the Director of Major Gifts at Fresno Pacific University. She gave us great insight on the process of asking for money – something that most of us raised our hands when asked if that made us uncomfortable. We learned that there are many reasons that we hate asking for money. It could be cultural, because we hate hearing NO, or because we feel that we are above asking. Whichever the reason, we were then reminded that CBOs need the funds raised, which is so important that it justifies the awkwardness in the act of asking.
Karin explained the process in a way that reminded me of “Let’s Have Lunch Together.” As we all remember, this book was very centered on the development of strong relationships with donors. Karin’s key concept was building “authentic relationships.” Meaning, you establish a great deal of trust with the potential donor. She further stressed this by explaining that a good reputation is not build in the first 1 to 2 meetings or 1 to 2 checks, it is built on trust. As she put it, “you look them in the eye and present it in a way that could make you cry.” This made a lot of sense to me. I know that if I was very passionate about an organization or a cause, I would put my whole heart into the asking process. I also couldn’t help but laugh when Karin compared the donor relationship to a marriage (that was my favorite part).
After class, I was reviewing the Donor Bill of Rights. After reading through this material, I felt a little bit more comfortable with not only the asking process but also the giving process that we are currently partaking in. This set of rules helped me better understand how philanthropy works. It is a two-way street where both the donor and the recipient are engaged, informed, and for the most part, very respected. Now knowing more about how the process works, I am very excited to meet and interview with a potential grant recipient this week.