By Judi Bonilla
Everybody needs help. Finding that help and asking for it are two main challenges for any caregiver. The following tips are based on insider knowledge from nonprofit organizations and are designed to get you the information you need.
Practice: If you’re not used to asking for help, practice what you want to say. Write the phrase down, say the words out loud, and consider how you want your message heard.
Plan: Begin by determining your priorities. If you want help with several services decide which is your top priority. Focus on that item until it’s resolved.
Be prepared: Set aside time to make phone calls or conduct online research. Have your pen and pad ready or computer running. Give yourself 20 minutes to place phone calls or conduct research. Work in 20-minute segments until you’ve achieved your goal. Whether you finish your research in one day or 10 days, setting a specified time block will give you a sense of completion.
Be brief: For instance, “Can your organization help me with finding transportation to medical appointments for my mom?” Most non-profits have limited staff. Your ability to convey your request clearly will enable the staffer to get you to the right resource.
Be specific: State your request — “Can your organization help me with finding transportation to medical appointments for my mom? If the answer is yes, continue with gathering the information for the program. If the answer is no, ask, “Is there another organization that might be able to help me?”
Insider tip: Many non-profits are funded for services or programs and are staffed by unpaid volunteers. These individuals contribute their time and resources to programs they believe in. The bottom line is they want to help; they just need to know the question to answer it.