The seminal moment came on Monday night in Hartford. A late arrival to a parlor meeting which had been under attended in the first place. I thought to myself, ‘Oh no, I have to make a presentation all over again.’ Within 5 minutes of sitting back down and listening to some of the chitchat between another listener and my newcomer, I realized that I had a rare opportunity. To pitch a very well to do, philanthropically minded individual.
What to do? Listen. We talked about a variety of things from his interest areas and passions locally to his business and his thoughts about the Jewish community in his town. I told him about Shutaf (LINK) and our hopes and desires for the future. I shared numbers and stories about kids and lives changed for the better.
I was honest and told him not only what we need for this summer but what we need to grow and continue to serve our population of kids and teens with special needs.
I reminded myself a few times that developing a relationship with a giver of means takes time. I also reminded myself that he dropped in on the parlor meeting and that he knew that he’d be meeting and hearing about a charity in Israel – an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and their families.
I wrote him and thanked him for coming. I’ll continue to explore ways of engaging his interest and inviting him to be a partner, a builder an active member of the Shutaf community.
It was less scary than I thought. That’s a change for the better I think.
PS. He didn't step up to the plate yet. Right now, he's busy with many good things in his community but it's a relationship I'll work on and hopefully develop in the years to come.