Last Sunday after Masses at my local Catholic parish church, with the approval
of the parish priest, I was able to approach the men and women of the pews
to try to persuade them to give generously sponsor my forthcoming
run in the Wimbledon 10K race. The funds are to be applied for major improvements
to parish facilities on which see further at justgiving website.
The psychology of canvassing for cash in this way was interesting.
Turning up at end of the early morning Mass still steaming and in
running kit from my dawn jog, resulted in much sponsorship. Possibly
also few other campaigns are directed for the early morning faithful so
that there is, at that time, less of the giving fatigue that can understandably
affect people who are asked to fund so many good causes later on.
However at all times, individuals were amazingly generous.
One single sponsor -a total stranger - offered £100s in cash; another
obviously not wealthy, gave a few £s which clearly meant a lot to her.
Perhaps more impressive even than the cash - though a total of £1300 was
no mean sum - was the support from a team of women helpers, many of whom
were total strangers who borrowed some of my sponsor clip boards
and collected with me in the pouring rain.
The most intriguing feature was the ease with which I could strike up
conversations with people I did not know simply using a clipboard
and a cause as an excuse. Often the conversation was more important
than the sponsorship and frequently was not connected with the
reason for my holding the clip board at all.
People seem to like to communicate but often need an excuse (in England anyway)
to strike up an opening conversation.