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Today is a good day, one that I know I'll really enjoy. That's because I'm delivering a workshop to a Fundraising Institute (FINZ) learning day. As the heading suggests, it's about "Selling your cause to the public."

When I say I'm "delivering a workshop" I prefer to think that I get to stand in front of the room and talk as little as possible. Of course it doesn't quite work like that but the fun always happens when I ask people about their experiences and knowledge.

The good thing about avoiding a lecture, in favour of something a bit more interactive, is that it also reinforces the singular point of my pitch in this workshop. That is...

... while your 'cause' might be something you wish to sell, it is preferable to think of it as something you wish people to buy, most likely because they already care about the cause. In this sense, your cause is also their cause – something you both share.

How unstuck we become when we attempt to ram something down the throats of the unwilling. Why should someone else care about something just because we do?

So my point about the skills required to sell your cause is this. We need to start with an understanding about why other people care about the cause so that we can build relationships with these people. And we'll know that they are the right people, not necessarily because we've targeted them, but simply because we'll know that they also care.

Here's what I'm hoping for today. That I get plenty of time to listen to the audience and that we all share some stories about the causes that move people. In the case of today's audience, it's almost always about the need to find the people and stories that support so many great New Zealand organisations.

Wish me luck.

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Selling your cause to the public

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