Feels counter intuitive right? Espcially when it comes to fundraising. Here’s what I mean…
Women have been blessed with what’s called “diffuse awareness.”
Men have been blessed with what’s called “single focus”.
Both blessings, yet worlds apart.
Women with their 13,000 words, and men with their 3 (kidding).
Actually, I once heard that men and women use the same number of words – it just seems like women use twice as many because they have to REPEAT everything they say! (laugh out loud).
“Diffuse” means to pour out in many directions. This does not mean we focus on many things at one time. This means – it’s actually very difficult to focus….at all. It means we are aware of lots of different stimuli in any given environment. Don’t get me wrong, we can focus for short periods at a time. It just takes a bit more effort, because before long, something else in our immediate environment will be screaming for our attention. For us – doing 5 things at one time is easy. It’s doing one thing at a time that’s difficult.
Our brains are literally designed this way. It’s gift! That means lots of different things are speaking to us at one time. The pile of half gone through mail on the edge of the countertop is speaking. The throw blanket that was literally “thrown” on the couch – (not in an organized/messy kind of way) is speaking to us. The tiny pile of crumbs that missed the garbage can on the floor when we walk into the kitchen is speaking to us.
Our eyes are everywhere and nowhere all at once. We have phenomenal peripheral vision, and keen sensory awareness.
The beautiful thing is that we never even have to consciously think of any of these things! Our brain is designed to just do it all for us!
I often chuckle to hear my male counterparts talking about the need to get the attention of the listener because the listener (she) has so much going on in our world. That’s true. We do. And we can handle it. We can listen to you, while making lunches in the morning and even call in our gift with the phone scrunched between out neck and our ear while simultaneously loading a kid into the carseat, or picking up folders at Office Max for our work presentation. We’re used to it. You’re not taking us out of our element by asking us to do one more thing and call, text or web-give our gift. You just need to take us by the hand, and guide us through it. Remind us how little time it will take or how fast and efficient it is online.
We as women don’t necessarily need the type of “pattern disrupter” a man needs. Since men tend to be single focused, if they are listening to the radio while doing something else, then yes. you need to get their attention with perhaps bells or whistles. Not so for women. We’re used to a certain measure of auditory chaos during the day.
So, our sensory system does not also always consider loud bells, horns and yelling or “wooing” out of a song as a “pattern interrupter.” Those are more like “sanity interrupters.”
What’s much more likely to get her attention…get her to lean in…and to connect quickly would be opening the mic with something like, ”Sheryl never thought she’d be in this situation. She didn’t plan this. Who does? She went on in her email to say…” (read email from Sheryl who had perhaps just gone through cancer treatment, a difficult divorce, or losing her job as a single mom, etc.)
Now, you’ve got her attention through human connection. Everyone knows a Sheryl. Some of your listners have been Sheryl and can identify. At that point when you have a slice of her attention you can let her know how her gift is being used to comfort and encourage Sheryl through your ministry and give her a way – immediately, to ensure that type of hope and encouragement can continue. Might I also suggest that you kindly ask her (your listner/giver) to say a quick prayer for Sheryl. Believe it or not, she will apprecite being asked to be involved in a personal way by being offered the opportunity to support Sheryl (and those like her) in another way and because of her gift of “diffuse awareness” she will find the time to do so…even while she’s dropping mail off at the post office or sitting in the pick up line at school.
Stephanie Kay Welter is an Independant Radio/TV Host, Fundraising Expert, Voiceover/commercial talent, Coach, Owner Crowned Productions, LLC … contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.StephanieKay.org.