Several years back I decide to reach out to a well-known organization trying to find missing children. I spend an hour writing a detailed email describing my background, experience, skills, and results in regards to finding the “unfindable.” I start and end the email with one statement:
“I’d like to help with your effort, free of charge.”
After a few edits, I’m satisfied. Detailed and concise. Empathetic and serious.
I push “Send.”
This is a national organization so I’m not sure I’ll hear back from them. i move on with my day.
A few days later, I see an email from the national organization. This is it. I see visions of the coolest and most meaningful collaboration in my future. I click on the email.
I immediately see the message is brief. This is the basic gist of it:
“Thank you for your email. If you want to help our mission, please donate money to our organization.”
Damn. I sit shaking my head.
I know how difficult it is to find people. I also know these skills are generously rewarded because of the difficulty of the task and the rarity of the skill set.
And my free offer just ran into a brick wall.
The lesson here is to maximize the skill set in front of you. If you have a team of trackers, maximize the skills of each person. Some people love searching the internet. Some love going by addresses. Some love reaching out to people on the phone. Some love managing the project’s activities.
All are important to the follow-up effort. Don’t try to slam a square peg in a round hole. Roll with their skills and you’ll do wonders.