Asking for money is HARD. Receiving, in some respects is harder. Every time someone made a direct donation to the site she had trouble believing it and had difficulty writing the thank you emails because it meant she had to acknowledge that who she is and what she's chosen to do matter.
Say it, kid. I matter.
Amanda Effing Palmer wrote a book titled The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. I read the book; I didn't find it particularly helpful or enlightening but I appreciated the effort. I understood where she was going but as many reviews, specifically the NPR review pointed out, she seems to be slightly clueless about her circumstances versus the rest of the world. Not all of us have crowds that can and will. In my very limited experience, the Kickstarter or Razoo sites do best when it's about something people want. When it is only about the person asking for the money, even if it's a really great reason (like a trip to Paris to dance at the Paris Opera Ballet or building a community center in Nicaragua), people are oddly unwilling to give even the smallest donation and if you asked, most of them wouldn't be able to tell you why.
Elizabeth worried and she had good reason to worry. She was asking for a lot of money from a very small pool. As it turned out, eight people from my Facebook group, one of which is a second cousin I see about once a decade, showed up in two separate waves. By the time I bumped the ask back to the top of my Facebook page for the third time, we'd tapped our resources.
She wrote letters to her family, both sides. She crossed her fingers and held her breath. She felt slightly guilty as if she had no right to ask in the first place. Writing the letters to her family was harder than the Razoo post. It left her excruciatingly vulnerable.
I think that's what it is; vulnerability. There were some people she felt sure would support her who did not donate. This left her feeling bad for having the site up at all. It's an indirect no. She said, I don't understand. All those people are liking your post but none of them are doing anything about it. I tried to explain the emotional mechanics behind who will give, when, and why and who will likely never give. She couldn't hear me.
She put off the letter writing longer than she should have. The first $2,400 had to be raised by the end of October. The letter writing was painful. What if they say no? What if they don't respond at all? Did my uncle check his mail? Did the letter get lost?
She received three checks. One from each set of grandparents and one from her father's brother. This put her over the top and left her stunned at the support and generosity.
Why are you giving to me in this way?
Because it is a good opportunity for you; you will learn so much.
But I'm not going to learn, I'm going to help.
People give what they need to give. We can receive what we need to receive just so long as we acknowledge the gift and when there is nothing when you thought there would be something you can assume it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Her sister, who had absolutely NO money to give donated in the first wave. All Lucia wants are photographs. Show me kid, show me what you're doing so I can be proud in new and amazing ways.