I was at a friend’s house when a doorknocker came selling booklets to raise money for The Alannah and Madeline Foundation. The money provides packs for kids in emergency accommodation, and his full-time job was to sell these booklets door-to-door.
The conversation that followed was like being in a psychology/marketing/charity lecture. It was fascinating.
I wasn’t interested in the booklet so I asked if I could donate without taking a book. The answer was no. They weren’t allowed to accept donations without giving a book away. They weren’t even allowed to call the money we gave ‘donations,’ but ‘purchases.’
Before he left, the doorknocker said, ‘Look, to be honest, I’ve had a bad day. Most people just endure this and wait for me to leave. But you two have been so smiley and I have to ask: would you consider buying another booklet for $100 to help me meet my quota?’
I said I wished I could but I had to be wise with my money. He said that was okay and he understood. Then he asked if I’d consider buying something smaller. Again, I said, ‘Sorry, but I can’t.’
‘That’s okay,’ he said. ‘I just have to ask because otherwise I’d walk away wondering and regretting not asking. As they say: if you don’t ask, you don’t get.’
‘That’s right,’ I said, ‘keep asking because the next ask might be a yes.’
I told him not everyone could do what he does. I was thinking about the rejection and rolled eyes he must continually receive. He said, ‘I know, I get people setting their dogs on me and throwing lit cigarettes at me.’
Whoa! Even without the dogs and the cigarettes, I think it’s super courageous to go door-knocking for charity. It takes courage to keep asking when you keep getting no’s. I don’t have the courage. I wouldn’t keep asking. Even though I know and agree with the philosophy of asking in theory, I don’t think I even have the courage to ask once.
I also thinks it takes a real belief in what you’re working for to keep asking. Maybe this doorknocker was only interested in meeting his quota, or maybe he was only passionate about marketing, but I’d like to think he really believed in helping the kids he was raising money for.
This encounter brought back the yearning in my heart to put myself into a cause. I want to support, advocate, fundraise, give, and act for something I believe in. I want to believe in it so much that I’ll be courageous.
But I can’t find that one cause in my heart. It feels like my heart will recognise it when it sees it, but for now I get frustrated that I can’t find or articulate what’s in my heart.
There’s something in my heart that longs to help somewhere but I don’t know where. I don’t want to do door-to-door knocking but I want to do something.