A very, very smart fundraising guru gave us that piece of advice recently. It makes perfect sense. It also takes courage when I know I’m not good at it yet. Practice, practice, practice.
When I was training for the first marathon, one of the lessons I learned is that people want to help and that I needed that help badly. Eek. I screwed my courage to the sticking place and asked. Clumsily. It was mind-blowing how much support and help I got. It was a high hurdle to leap.
I think one of the fundamental elements of being human is our generosity. We seem hard-wired to pitch in. To connect. It feels good on every level to help someone else. We are pack animals through and through.
I truly and deeply believe that I can’t effectively help someone else if I don’t have a strong personal foundation. It’s like building a house on a sand trap. My house address used to be around the 8th hole. (Wow, I kind of used a golf metaphor. Bizarre.)
I used to feel like I had to give more of myself than I had in store. Then, in the healing process, I became miserly. You know, that pendulum swing that always happens. Now, I’ve settled in a good middle. I am generous and well supported. The more I give now, the greater my capacity. I’m no longer depleted in the act of giving. As a matter of fact, I’m a little leary of people who are obviously giving too much. I know that it’s limited, unreliable and will bounce back in a bad way on them and everyone around them. That used to describe me to a T.
It’s easier now to ask than it’s been in the past. Maybe that’s why I’m doing this Shakespeare in the Park thing now. I’m ready.
Susan Scot Fry
Update… I talked to another guru yesterday about the process we’re in. She’s surprised and encouraged by how open and welcoming the people who help support the arts community have been for such a new project.
This is an exciting time. In a weird, slow, undiscovered country way.