Harvey McKinnon   

Why Me?

by Harvey McKinnon on November 24th, 2015

If you have teenagers (or have been one), you know the person the world revolves around.

Or if by some quirk of nature your kids are model cherubs, think back to that blind date. “Enough about me,” your companion said. “Let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?”

Have you ever spent time with someone who talked only about him- or herself and never once asked a question about you? Of course you have. If this hasn’t happened to you, then maybe you are that person!

Or perhaps it’s an elderly neighbor you meet on the street. You ask with civility, “How are you?” only to be subjected to a list of ailments spanning your neighbor’s entire anatomy.

In short, Me is everyone’s favorite subject.

So it’s no surprise that a would-be supporter’s first question (whether spoken or not) is … Why me?

It’s a loaded question. By asking it, the donor is trying to situate himself in the world, or at least in your world. Going through her mind—simultaneously—are related concerns: How do you see me? Do I approve of the way you see me? Do you really know me? Do you care about me? Am I important to you for reasons other than my money?

You are looking for common ground that helps a donor to express his or her values. The “Why me?” question can also be answered with:

  • Because with your past gifts you’ve shown you care.
  • Because you’ve met so and so (a person the cause has helped), and your gift can help others like her.
  • Because you’re respected, and your support will inspire others.
  • Because you know how big the need is, and your gift will help provide solutions.

There are many other answers, of course. You’ll identify the best one when you deepen your understanding of the donor. And guess what? The best way to do that is to ask him or her questions!

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