Interview with Asking Matters Member Kylie Pierce
by Brian Saber
I recently had the opportunity to interview Asking Matters member Kylie Pierce of the Rome Capitol Theatre about how knowing her Asking Style has impacted her fundraising and helped her as a development officer. What has your experience been? I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brian Saber, President.
BRIAN: Hi Kylie. I know you’re a big fan of Asking Matters and I appreciate that. What in particular has been helpful to you?
KYLIE: When I started in the development field, I read articles and attended webinars by the “rock stars” of fundraising. They seemed to be outgoing and confident, and I was worried that if I couldn’t emulate their style (I am fairly reticent and introverted until I feel comfortable with people) that I would never be successful. I kept trying to fit my square peg into the round hole of gregariousness and dynamism, but it wasn’t working.
When I ran across Asking Matters and the Asking Styles Assessment, I finally realized anyone could ask, and success is based more on catering to one’s particular strengths than trying to be something one is not. I feel so much more comfortable with my role now.
BRIAN: That’s great to hear and sounds a bit like my story. For years I kept thinking I wasn’t the prototypical fundraiser. I like your “square peg” analogy. Besides the “aha” moment we all have with Asking Styles, are there specific techniques you’ve learned that work well for your Style?
KYLIE: The first time I took the assessment, I knew I would identify with the Kindred Spirit style because that is the way I had done most things up until that point. I was surprised and intrigued, though, to realize I had a bit of Mission Controller in me. I always knew I loved data (I have a degree in geology), but I didn’t realize that it could influence my work here. That realization gradually led me to where I am today – Mission Controller/Rainmaker!
I feel much more confident (which makes me more extroverted) when I have the data to refer to, and I work more effectively when I have the numbers to back up my case. I now take extra time for preparation, updating spreadsheets and dossiers, reviewing them carefully, and preparing information packets for myself and the prospect. I plan out my objectives beforehand, and I use my intuitive side to make sure
I’m not overloading them with information!
BRIAN: That’s fascinating, Kylie. Since our personalities basically are what we are, it sounds as if you’ve learned how to address your challenges in fundraising and become a stronger fundraiser by being more systematic and studious, and being planful gives you more confidence. So in fundraising you act more like a Mission Controller/Rainmaker, though I would think in other parts of your life your intuitive side still reigns. Does that sound accurate?
KYLIE: Oh, definitely. I am still a Kindred Spirit in my home life – I’m quite the intuitive introvert when I’m not at work. That said, these days I’m constantly making databases of things around the house because they help inform my domestic decisions, maybe even more so because I’ve seen how well this works at the office! But I doubt I’ll ever show the traits of a Rainmaker at home.
BRIAN: That’s interesting to hear, Kylie. We all take on slightly different personae depending on the situation. I always say the Asking Styles give you a guideline but that you have to figure out for yourself what works and doesn’t work. You recently told me you were using the Asking Styles with others in your organization. Tell me more.
KYLIE: Yes, I bet your ears were ringing because I was talking about it with someone today! Now that I have been in development for a while, I know people won’t give unless they’re asked, and people don’t ask because they’re afraid. I believe Asking Matters takes much of the fear away by giving people tools and tips that actually apply to their inherent nature. Because of this, I’ve integrated the exploration of the Asking Styles into much of our solicitor training–using Andrea’s “Asking Styles” book–and even into committee work. I find that if I know someone else’s Asking Style I have a better understanding of their needs. I make sure to find out the Asking Style of any solicitors accompanying me on asks so we can be successful as a team. For example, I work very well on fundraising calls with my Executive Director because he is a Kindred Spirit/Go-Getter and I’m a Mission Controller/Rainmaker (in fundraising!).
BRIAN: This is really great to hear, Kylie. Thanks for sharing your experiences with me. One last question. Which of the Asking Matters resources are most helpful to you? Maybe the top two?
KYLIE: Gosh, it’s hard to pick two. I like the downloadable asking exercises; they work great for trainings and getting my colleagues more comfortable with asking. I also love the live and recorded webinars and trainings. I’ve learned a lot from the topics, and I love that they’re free to members. I attend quite a few webinars (in fact, I’m attending one today at our local AFP chapter), and I consider the monthly membership fee a very small price to pay for these high-quality offerings.
BRIAN: Great to hear! I plan to get many more exercises and recordings up on the site this year. Thanks, Kylie!