There is no way around this one - you must go out on a limb and ASK. There are a few things you can do to make the process easier for yourself and for potential resources:
Make your request as specific as possible.
If you ask for "any amount possible" of time and money, people are likely to contribute a minimal amount. Be realistic and be prepared to suggest a reasonable dollar amount or time. Illustrate what the contribution could provide: $50 will go toward a certain amount of safety surfacing, $500 can purchase a beanstalk climber or $1,000 can purchase a slide, etc.
Make the appeal local.
Talk about your ABCD process and map - emphasize how the playspace project will positively impact the potential donor and local community rather than emphasizing need. Remember, you aren't asking for this person's time, money, or materials for nothing. You have a great product to "sell" - the playspace! If asking for a person's time, reiterate how volunteers get the opportunity to develop new skills, meet new people, and make a significant contribution to his or her own community.
If someone says "no," find out why.
Many grassroots organizers are uncomfortable with the task of asking for resources, and this is understandable. A good first step is to recognize that fear is normal and rejection is never easy! Rejection is also inevitable - not everyone will have the time, interest, or resources to devote to your project, no matter how great it is.
It's important to sensitively follow up with people who said "no." Without being pushy, send a note or make a phone call explaining that in order to learn from the experience, it would be helpful to find out what the obstacles/problems were. Try to arrange a 10-minute follow-up call. If handled appropriately, your prospect will appreciate this extra step and might even reconsider! Don't forget to ask if that person knows someone else who might be interested in getting involved in your project. Remember, you never know who people know!
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