Its often been said we need to listen more, that we have two ears and one mouth and should use them in equal proportion.

Seth Godin has even recently written How to listen, and ends it well when he says “Good listeners get what they deserve–better speakers.”

We all need to listen more, we need to hear and understand what’s being said; without this we’re on a road to nowhere.

This reminds me of when we analyse a fundraising or awareness campaign and we see that it hasn’t gone as well as we’d hoped; why we ask, we ask ourselves and perhaps a focus group and close friends. But this only perhaps gives us what we “want” to hear, a sanitized version.

It’s all good and all hearing what we want to hear, but it’s probably only ego – ours, we don’t want what we’ve worked weeks, months or maybe years getting off the ground and those closest to us don’t want to hear our feelings; tough, sometimes feelings have to be hurt.

When was the last time you listen, no not heard but listened to what others outside our normal “feedback zone” had to say about the campaign? Probably very seldom if at all. Some would say NEVER.

It’s time to change that. 

There’s so many opportunities to hear what is being said, it could be in a casual conversation that someone says something, maybe not overtly, but something is said – with some subtle probing you could find out more that will be useful for future reference. Maybe you’re in a cafe and hear something; again file it away for future reference, but firstly is what’s been said in a similar vain to what you may have heard before?

You should also be using such tool as Google Alerts to monitor what’s being said about you – but, not only YOU, but your sector as well; it’s important to have a broad picture.

When I was talking about charity collectors and there being more than one option for people to support causes, and mentioned this on Twitter I got a few responses from people who felt they only had one option to support, and others who knew that it doesn’t only take money to support a cause.

One person summed it up well in her experience with colleagues, they make it clear that money is an option, but it’s by no means the only option to supporting an organization, a cause.

If one person is saying this – how many others are?

If the people organizations are having to explain to others that there are alternative ways of supporting, are organizations forgetting to and only focused on the “cash ask”?

Are organizations forgetting that people may want to volunteer a few hours to muck in, to roll up their sleeves and help. Maybe there’s some who would like to speak about the work you do where they work, play or socialize – have you asked them, do they know you’d welcome this kind of support as much as you would hard folding notes?

Charities are already likely missing out when it comes to street collections when people walk by because they don’t have cash on them, don’t let other chances to gain other support – open your ears, and listen – don’t just hear what’s being said, but tune in and listen. You could well get support you may never have gained before.

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