I read a ton of books over Christmas break, but the one that really stood out for me was Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. One part memoir, one part how-I-did-it, and one part meditation on what it means to be an artist, The Art of Asking is a powerful book that really resonated with me. Although the book is geared towards people like Amanda–indie musicians who want to try crowdsourcing–I think it has a great deal to say to anyone who works with the public, especially those of us that solicit and receive donations from people.
Amanda makes several good points about crowdsourcing. First, in order to successfully raise money, you first need a crowd or an audience to source from. Second, you need to keep in touch with your backers. And third, and most importantly, you need to stop regarding your patrons or customers as units of profit and look upon them as friends and partners in your enterprise.
I highly recommend this book for artists, for anyone who works in a non-profit or public service job, and for people in general who have trouble asking for help when they need it.