Any peaceful social contact is made according to certain rules, and contact without observing the rules is a conflict. This applies to almost any situation – domestic, business, religious – and charitable.
Conflict in a situation of emotional intensity is especially likely, when grief or anger turn off the ability to soberly assess the situation and understand that there are not idiots around, not enemies and not soulless bureaucrats, but simply people of a different approach to business who have different rules – although they may have common your goals.
The situation when a person asks for help refers precisely to this: the supplicant is so bad that he cannot speak clearly, not that he can calmly answer the questions asked. It’s even more difficult if the petitioner belongs to that stratum of Russian society, in which either charity is present or strange ideas occur, or the very idea of going and asking for something seems like a wild, final step of a completely desperate person. The fifth part of the population of Russia is somehow connected with the social stratum, the first three commandments of which are “Do not believe, do not be afraid, do not ask.”
All this can not cause difficulties.
I remember the person who called the fund and asked for help for his daughter, starting the conversation with the words “I understand that this is just a business for you, I’m not a sucker, but I’m ready to share.” I remember a woman who, when she was denied the repayment of her loan, began to mumble some kind of nonsense, and then proudly said that she had cursed us and now our children will die, until she removes the spell. I remember those who offered to collect funds in secret, without exposing photographs, without naming names or telling what the problem was.
Sometimes people call for ten minutes at the beginning of a conversation for an apology, and then another fifteen – for describing their super-poor position – without formulating in any way what, in fact, they need help. There are others who begin to tell how they once helped others, as if we are now obliged to pay them back mystical debts. One family in the middle of the gathering suddenly disappeared and the year (!) Did not make contact. There are regular conflicts on the use of funds that are “not needed” – often it turns out that the fund and the applicants often have different plans for their use. And so on.
In general, there will be a brief recommendation later on – how to properly ask for help from organizations, so that they can get help and not offend people.
Immediately make a reservation: what is described below does not quite apply to seeking help from an individual. Individuals each have their own rules and their own understanding of the obligations and conditions under which help can or cannot be given. Therefore, the answer to the question “how to ask a private person correctly” lies more likely in the field of the psychology of this person and it is rather difficult to write a more or less general recommendation here.
But organizations work quite standard.
And the first thing to do before applying to a particular foundation is to clarify what it actually does and does not do. Funds have specialization, and there is not a single fund that would be involved in everything. The Foundation “Children's Hearts”, which only pays for treatment, is associated with congenital heart disease among minors of Russian citizens, adults regularly call and ask for help in the treatment of cancer. And they get very upset when they are told that here, unfortunately, they cannot be helped.
Save your nerves and someone else's time – find a profile fund, and go there. Fortunately, there is the “Charity Hotline”, there is “All Together”, there is a database of church social ministry and so on.
Almost every foundation has a website where, as a rule, its specialization is described in detail. Find out about each organization with which you plan to contact – what are its limitations on the provision of assistance. Can she help just such a person, does she deal with exactly the problem with which you want to turn. Understand, in most cases we refuse not from greed and laziness, but because we really can not help.
Now directly on the appeal to the fund. The first thing to do is to put emotions aside. Remember that tears and sad sighs will not help you, but rather hinder. They may cause sympathy, but instead of finding a way to solve a problem, you will spend time explaining, comforting, talking to other topics, and so on. Want sympathy – go to friends, to a psychologist, to a good priest, to a comrade in misfortune. The foundation is not for sympathy, but for business. Try to talk about what can and should be done, how and why, and not about what you feel.
In addition, put aside not only emotions, but also prejudices. Do not try to bribe fund employees, do not try to please them with stories of past merits or impress with former luxury. We are not very interested in all this, because we are at work, and our activity is largely determined by instructions, and not by personal relations. You can be sympathetic to us or not, we will help or refuse not for these reasons. Pretty simple courtesy and friendliness: scattering in praise or communicating in the language of orders (and this happens), you again bring into the process only confusion.
Yes, and keep in mind that our bosses are, at best, directly the director of the foundation. Above complain about the refusal to help just nobody. We help on free will, but not on duty. Therefore, it is senseless to threaten the employees of the foundation with a prosecutor's office, letters to the president, reports to the Patriarch or complaints to the Ministry of Health.
The second extremely important recommendation: decide what you need. Requests like “I want to drink like that, there is nothing to eat, there’s already no place to sleep” – are meaningless, and not because they are very large-scale, but because of their technical impracticability. If you have a problem, the problem should have a clear description. If you have several problems, then a few descriptions.
If you have in your head some solutions to these problems – they should also be voiced. Funds do not help, as a rule, in a situation where "generally a very difficult life." Funds are taken for something concrete – buy medicine, pay for treatment. And if the problem can be solved with money, you need to find out in advance exactly what amount will help and where it will need to be paid, and whether the fund can pay this way – for example, not all funds transfer funds abroad or to personal accounts.
Further. Your problem should not only be specifically described, but also documented. Sorry, but we are forced to be bureaucrats in this, for we dispose of not our own money, but donated money. Therefore, if you come to ask for help in a medical problem, bring, if possible, fresh medical documents, which clearly indicate that there is really a disease, and that certain treatment is recommended. It is also better to find out in advance how much money you need and in which health care institution you can be helped.
If you need help in solving not medical, but another problem, then also try to confirm it with documents. If this is a repair – take a photo of the building under repair, prepare at least an approximate estimate. If you caught fire, let it be a certificate of fire. If you have many children, there is not enough money to provide them with a copy of the certificate of a large family. In any case, do not interfere with income certificates. In general, the more documents – the better.
And also, the more they order – the faster we will understand them and the sooner we can move on to the next stage of work.
In general, the application to the fund should contain the following points:
– who you are, first of all in relation to the one who needs help – a volunteer, mother, guardian, the victim himself.
– what is the problem and what confirms its presence and scale.
– how is it possible, with the help of the foundation, to solve this problem, in your opinion, (with money and how much they need, a letter with an appeal and in whose name, and so on).
It is highly desirable, turning to the fund, to find out how exactly the collected funds will be used. Some funds take a part of the money themselves (“Tradition” does not take it), which they are entitled to by law, and it would be good if this does not come as a surprise to you. It is also worthwhile to think and find out beforehand – what will happen if there is too much money collected, or they are not needed at all? Most organizations have developed certain rules for this case and it’s better to just figure out in advance what they are.
Also just read in full the request for help or the contract you sign when you negotiate with the foundation. Most of the conditions of your cooperation are spelled out there.
What else is important to consider when contacting the fund: if the fund conducts an open fundraising, the information about you and your problem will become public. Yes, some funds hide the names of the beneficiaries, but not all, and the essence of the problem in the public gathering is almost always told. Also almost inevitable photographs exhibited on public display. Sorry, but if we could do without it, they would certainly have done without.
An extremely important "condition of the contract" between the fund and the applicant is honesty and openness. The Foundation undertakes to apply the forces and means at its disposal in order to solve your problem – you, on your part, undertake to provide information about the problem, and the information is timely. If during the collection you were personally presented with funds to solve the problem, you must report to the fund. If you opened a parallel fundraising – again, you shouldn’t be silent about it, because this is stupid (if you open it, you will be left without anything) and simply dishonest.
Another very important condition is the confidentiality of information obtained from the fund. If they tell you that for some reason they make an exception from the general rules for you, then you shouldn’t run and blow everything to it. If, for example, because of a particularly difficult situation, the fund pays for solving your problem from the reserves, without waiting for the full fundraising, you don’t need to be secret with your friends, that “yes, they have a lot of money there”. This will not lead to the fact that we will help more people, but rather the opposite – that we will stop “entering the position” and break our own rules.
There are other quite understandable requirements: for example, not to lose sight of or suddenly not change the strategy for solving the problem.
Vladimir Berhin, photo by Deacon Andrei Radkevich
The “contract” between the foundation and the applicant implies that the foundation is taken for help, the applicant, as a retaliatory step, is obliged to observe the conditions set by the foundation: to provide information on request, to obey the inevitable publicity and not interfere with the work with unnecessary emotions. A foundation is, by and large, just a service enterprise. It’s easier for us when we are not treated like a temple, a psychologist’s office, a minister’s receptionist or a magic wand. We are working. Let's work together.
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