Making requests is an art of leadership.

Yet too many requests are left unsaid or if said, they are stated indirectly.

Many of us in the fundraising world are natural givers. We got into a “helping” profession. And it’s no surprise that making requests can be difficult for “helpers.”

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • We don’t make the request and just do whatever it is ourselves.
  • We don’t make the request and we harbor resentment about having to do it ourselves.
  • We make the request, but pepper it with so much language, the request isn’t clear.
  • We expect people to read our minds and can’t believe they don’t offer to do whatever it is we want them to do without a prompt.

Leaders must learn to make clear requests and work with the outcomes of those requests. Otherwise, you are giving away your agency.

Today, I request that you try this practice. On three separate occasions, with three separate people, make a request. You can start:

[Name,] I’d like to make a request. Then, insert your request clearly and concisely here.

As you make the request, what feelings/emotions arise inside you? Are you anxious? Are you confident? Are you calm? Are you frantic?

After you make the request, notice the response of your requestee. How did they react? What words did they use? What body language did they use? How did their response make you feel.

Learning to make requests skillfully is a practice that requires awareness and care. It’s an art that can unlock possibilities you never knew were there.