Ask Not. The Power of An Ask-Less Event
Over the last year or so, I’ve had the privilege of packing boxes at my local Tomchei Shabbos about twice a month. I started out driving routes, but found something really fulfilling about physically packing food for those in need. I’m ashamed to admit it, but this was my first time volunteering in any consistent way, and I cannot believe I did not do this sooner.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I get an invite to their 5th annual Volunteer appreciation day. As someone who works in the non profit space- I found myself extremely excited about the opportunity to attend the type of event we always preach about, focused solely on giving thanks.
So I went.
I took off my Charidy hat and entered as a volunteer. The event, so thoughtfully organized, absolutely blew me away. They transformed their warehouse from a workspace, into a love fest for their volunteers and donors. From the balloons, to the table cloths, to the thank you signs and abundance of food— nothing was overlooked. I even won a raffle (who knew real people actually win)! The event captured a sense of true community and pride, even though my contributions to the cause have been so minimal— I felt part of the organization. I vowed that as soon as I win the lottery, I will become a major benefactor.
But the best part? They didn’t ask for a dollar. As a matter of fact, money was not even mentioned. Only as I sit down to write this, do I realize how truly powerful it was. As a volunteer, last night was a beautiful evening. As a professional, I couldn’t wait to grab my laptop and share my experience with you. It’s one thing to advise a client on proper thanks, but it’s quite another to be the recipient.
Now I really get it.
When you take the time to nurture relationships with volunteers, they become part of your organization. For life. There is no value you can place on that type of loyalty. No matter the size of your organization, stop everything you are doing and give thanks. A tour. A hug. Seriously. Invite your volunteers, donors, anyone involved to get together for some nosh. Thank them, get to know them, have fun with them.
Not only will this create a real community of engaged supporters, it will feel good for you. An opportunity to not ask for anything. Just give. By giving this thanks, you in turn will receive gratification for your efforts.
Do not underestimate the power of an ask-less event.