I've never sold a raffle ticket. I've never raised money for a cause. I believe in causes and believe in giving to them, but fundraising is just not something that has ever amazed, surprised or delighted me. Until last week, that is.
I work for the YWCA Bergen County and we held a raffle this month. We're a non-profit, so a raffle is no big deal in and of itself. But for our YWCA, this raffle was a big deal. The prizes were big (a 40" flat screen TV, a digital SLR camera). The potential was big. And for me personally it was big: because this year, raising money is a job requirement. Selling some raffle tickets seemed like one of the surest ways to do that. The only problem was that it required me to do something I really, really, (did I say really?) hate doing: Asking.
Fortunately, this is what the Internet was invented for! Asking via email is so much easier than looking someone in the eye and begging. (Nothing like being separated by cyber space to boost one's confidence!) So I sent an email to everyone I thought might either 1) be willing to give just because they care about me, 2) be generous by nature and give because it's the right thing to do, or 3) actually want to win a TV the size of Utah. The first surprise was that all but three of them said yes. The second surprise was that a quarter of them bought more than one ticket.
When they picked the winners last Thursday, the amazing thing was that my sister Deborah won the camera! The delightful thing was that it turned out I'd sold the most tickets of any single person in the organization. Me, the woman who has never asked anyone to donate anything. Ever. And yeah, I earned myself half a day's vacation. And better still, I raised some money for a cause I believe in. But the really big deal is the realization that, when you do ask, the answer will be yes more often than you think. Maybe next time I'll have the guts to do it face-to-face...