Can Shy People Fundraise?

This week I wrote an email to a select few nonprofits leaders that Mary Valloni and I have invited to join us in a new mastermind we are leading. What started as a simple "join today" became a moment of deep introspection as I wrote. The more I typed, the more emotional I became. I shared something that so many of the people that know me find hard to believe. Read the email, and then we will reflect together.

Hi (first name),

There is one thing that people who know me find nearly impossible to believe.

Just this week, in our Champions Mastermind meetup with Mike Kim, it gripped me several times:.

  • When Molly Grisham asked for someone to share their thoughts with the large group.

  • When Eugene Choy asked for someone to share their ideas with the large group.

  • When Jeff Goins asked for someone to share their thoughts with the large group.

When that happens, I do something instinctively that usually works to my advantage: I DIVERT MY GAZE FROM THEM. Through the years, I have learned that if you look directly at the presenter when they ask for someone to share, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO CALL ON YOU! It worked; I wasn't asked to share in front of the group!

But, there was one time at the meetup when all of the people in the room who suffer from my problem went into an internal spaz. Without warning, for marketing purposes, we ALL had to get up in front of the group and do a rapid, spontaneous presentation so the photographers could snap some photos. I DIED INSIDE.

It is the same tension I felt, as a pastor, every time I spoke to groups of people of ANY size. I am talking about every Sunday!

By now, you know what my problem is, right? I am shy. I live life afraid.

It is the hardest thing for people to believe about me. I am shy (not morbidly), yet I have raised millions. Selah, pause and think about that...

To counteract my tendency to sit in the back of the room, never volunteer to share, and only act when called upon, I look for opportunities to practice being vulnerable and to solicit help and feedback. In the last few years, THE single greatest life-changer for my growth has been masterminds.

My membership in my mastermind has become THE catalyst for my growth today. The members of my mastermind are my biggest cheerleaders. They are thinking partners that love me, but love my potential a little more!

I want you to have the same gift. Mary Valloni and I are offering ourselves and the members of our new mastermind to you.

But time's a-wasting! We are getting ready to give ourselves away. I hope you can join us on the journey to greatness. I mean it.

Regardless of whether you choose to join us or not, I pray for you to recognize and grow to your highest potential. I am saying a prayer for that as I write this message. Mary and I are in your corner. You can trust that!

David Oaks

Ok, let's reflect.

Can shy people be successful fundraisers?

Yep! I am living proof. I adopted a saying years ago: DO THE THING YOU FEAR, AND THE DEATH OF THAT FEAR IS CERTAIN. I still live in apprehension and fear, especially when being vulnerable before crowds and in asking for money. But, it does get easier.

Having a clear path to do what I am doing helps me overcome my fear.

Through the years, I have taken numerous courses on presenting, preaching, storytelling, fundraising, board development, writing, etc. What these courses and teachers gave me was a path.

  • I studied Andy Stanley's method of effective public speaking.

  • I learned John Maxwell's method of fundraising.

  • I adopted Donald Miller's framework for messaging.

  • I internalized Mike Kim's marketing framework.

  • I embraced Mary Valloni's framework for being fully funded.

I learned that having a proven path, method or framework helped me overcome my fear of execution.

I have learned to do what I do while I am afraid.

It has been a life-long struggle to overcome my fear. But, now I have resigned myself to the fact that I may never overcome this shyness; I JUST CHOOSE TO DO WHAT I HAVE TO DO, AFRAID.

  • Last week I attended my mastermind meetup, afraid.

  • A few weeks ago, I hosted my first online webinar, afraid.

  • At the end of that webinar, I offered my first online paid accelerator, afraid.

  • Not long ago, I asked a donor for a million dollars, afraid.

  • Shortly, I will speak at a large church, afraid.

  • I am rebranding my business around my name, afraid.

  • Every day I am trying to let my wife truly know me, afraid.

I touch deep emotion inside when I admit I may never overcome my fear. But regardless, if achieving my potential means doing it while I am afraid, I WILL DO IT!

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is doing what needs to be done, even though I have fear.

Gotta stop writing before I lose it!

Do you see yourself in my reflections? Connect with me on Instagram and let me know.


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