Saying “No” Sucks

As humans, we have a natural aversion to rejection. Even the thought of delivering bad news to someone can trigger the same physical responses as if we were receiving it ourselves. That’s why ghosting – leaving someone hanging without an explanation – is commonplace personally and professionally. Even when delivered in a kind way, rejection can be traumatic. We can’t escape it, but by being more precise upfront we can avoid going down the wrong path with those who aren’t aligned with us.

To be clear – we’re talking about organizational partnerships, we’ll leave the romantic side of this problem to the experts.

One common misconception that we hear about the Orgmatch platform (or the idea of a marketplace) is that it provides more opportunities for funders to say “no” to more people. To do so would be to note understand that needs of the funder. The reality is that funders are overwhelmed with irrelevant proposals and what they really need is a way to precisely match their objectives with the right partners. When only the wealthiest and most established organizations get funding, it’s clear that the current system isn’t working.

Funders want to say “yes” more often and avoid saying “no” altogether. To achieve this, they need to align their goals with organizations that are best equipped to help them reach those goals, and this is done through relationships. Relationships are the key to successful partnerships, but the current system doesn’t always allow for strong relationships to form due to high turnover. This means that those with the resources to access decision-makers often get the funding opportunities while others are left out.

To solve big problems, we need to empower grassroots organizations that are often excluded from the current system. Our funding partners are looking for lists of non-qualified organizations and opportunities that are hard to find, even through manual processes and databases. With partnerships becoming more sophisticated, it’s time to eliminate the need for in-person conferences and provide a pathway for trust and discovery between funders and organizations.

Relationships are vital in philanthropy, and trust is the foundation of any good relationship. Trust is built over time and cannot be rushed, but by providing a platform for discovery and building relationships, partnerships can solve the biggest challenges we face.

Rejection doesn’t have to be inevitable, if both sides are willing to focus on finding the right partners over having the most or the most convenient partners.


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