Connection Heart

The Power of Vulnerability in Donor Conversations

In a recent coaching call with a client, I was asked how I would address a particular sensitive

In a recent coaching call with a client, I was asked how I would address a particular sensitive topic with a donor. The answer I offered led us to engage in a conversation about vulnerability. A seemingly innocuous question led me to reflect about the role vulnerability plays in connecting and engaging with legacy donors. 

Dr. Brené Brown  is a research professor at the University of Houston who studies courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. In this TED talk, she explains that we’re hard-wired with the ability to connect and to do that, we must have courage and be vulnerable.

According to her research, she discovered that to connect we must have the courage to be imperfect. This imperfection empowers us to embrace our vulnerability which then allows us to connect with others because we’re being our authentic selves.

When you think about it, that’s all we want from others – to show up and be their authentic selves. That authenticity builds trust and fosters connectivity. Isn’t that what we’re all seeking in one way or another?

Take a second to think about your own relationships, those where you would qualify as deep relationships. Did authenticity and vulnerability play a role in reaching that depth in the relationship? I suspect it did to a certain degree.

So next time you are faced with a possible uncomfortable or sensitive conversation with a legacy donor, try to lean into that discomfort by showing your vulnerability and authenticity. It’s going to be weird, wonky and probably appear to come out all wrong at first. The trick is to lean into that discomfort more and more until it isn’t uncomfortable anymore. What will emerge is your authentic self and donors will connect what that, they will appreciate you showing up that way.

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