Hawking or thoughts on selling

silver salesman, Vermont, 1940

I've grown weary of raising money. In the last month alone, and stretching into October, I find myself obligated to raise money for two foundations on which I am a board member, my son's annual Cub Scout fundraiser, for which he is anticipating selling so much over-priced popcorn that he'll win another gadget or toy, and our annual charter school pledge drive.

I hate to ask people for money and can't wrap my brain around those who love to do it. Or maybe they don't love to do it, but they certainly relish the challenge. My own son is an excellent salesman; I remember the first time he donned his Cub Scout uniform and set out in our neighborhood to sell popcorn with me trailing him. He knocked confidently on each door and made his spiel while I gesticulated in the background, mouthing silently over his shoulder to his prospects it's all right if you can't give or don't worry -- you can buy the $10 can! I admit that this was a sort of sabotage, but despite it, the first year he managed to sell over $1000 worth of popcorn, and I remember feeling almost frightened at his ability to smooth talk anyone into buying the stuff.

I'm as ready as the next person to argue politics and even religion, but I don't want to coerce you into giving money, even when it's a cause that's near and dear to my heart. And while I'm grateful when my friends and family pony up and donate to a music therapy fundraiser for special needs kids, or a big family walk for freedom from epilepsy -- I'm also a bit apologetic. I hate the equation

Money = Support


As a fairly experienced member of the boards of several non-profit foundations, I know a bit about fund-raising, and it's not an understatement to say that I hate it.

So, if a really cute little boy in a Jr. Webelos uniform knocks on your door, I hope you'll buy some popcorn from him. I want you to know that you don't have to, but I'd also warn you that you probably will, anyway.


Elizabeth writes regularly at a moon, worn as if it had been a shell. And she hopes you'll join her team at this year's Epilepsy Freedom Walk but no pressure...

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