Do a quick search on the Internet for how to ask for help and you will find countless articles describing why it is so difficult to do so. What if instead of requiring people to become better at asking for help, we became better at offering it? –
By pooling money together with those you know BEFORE needs are identified, you’re freed to look for opportunities to help. When money has specifically been set aside to help people, it becomes easier to do so. Even though you might be willing to help, it’s still difficult for people you know to reach out in their time of need. That’s why we’ve made it the norm for members to reach out first and offer assistance.
The following tips are offered as ways to know when/how to offer help:
- Pick up on cues — don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- If at all possible, avoid phone conversations and emails and have your conversation in person and in private.
- Acknowledge your own limitation in seeing something correctly.
- Be straightforward. share a personal story, but do not micromanage or be manipulative.
- Say thank you when someone has shared something sensitive. When someone has entrusted you with a sensitive situation, it is meant to be carried carefully.
- Share the story of Common Change and specifically your group. Ask for permission to share the requests and let them know that there’s no guarantee but you would like to at least ask.
One of the most amazing aspects of group giving is that it changes the way we react to other peoples’ needs. Instead of ignoring or shying away from needs for lack of resources, we get to proactively look for and respond to the needs around us, because we know that we have resources to meet them. Here are a couple helpful hints on finding needs and meeting them well as a group:
- Focus on people that someone in your group has a personal relationship with. We call this the principle “One Degree of Separation.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions that feel uncomfortable. Often we shy away from questions about money, but remember that people are probably more afraid to ask you for help than you are to ask them if they need it, so if you don’t ask, you might never know.
- When exploring a potential need, ask specific questions about the need. Meeting general needs that are large and vague can overwhelm the group and the process. When a person posts with very specific information about a specific opportunity, it helps the group to function better.