Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of "community" has less geographical limitation, as people can now gather virtually in an "online community" and share common interests regardless of physical location.

image36 shares common interests

 and matches them to opportunity ahead. 

the tools of the/(one's) trade

The tools of the trade or the tools of your trade are the skills and equipment  that you need to do your job. 



Initiative Focus - Flags. Signs. Chairs.

The ask.

A well-planned solicitation will make all the difference.


The ask.


The Host. Prospect.

For the purpose of this article - The Host, The Prospect, is the responsible party where the Flag, Sign, or Chair will be located.

> The POW/MIA Flag

Typically a Host will be adding a POW/MIA Flag to an existing flag pole. Depending on a number of circumstances [Business vs School for example] Often, there is indeed an accompanying ceremony as the flag is first raised - we recommend some sort of formal dedication - however as the flag is more of a universal nature - we should focus first and foremost on getting the flag flying at the respective location.



Approaching someone for the first time can be an intimidating experience if you are not prepared. A well-planned solicitation will make all the difference.

Many companies, individuals, and organizations are willing to show their patriotism but are never asked. This practice recommends preparing for "the ask," creating a dialogue during "the ask," and then following up after "the ask" even if the response is negative.

Remember that people respond to people. The secret to a successful "ask" is the...

 Right prospect

 Right person

 Right way

 Right time

 Right request

Stages of an "ask" 

There is more to asking than just popping the question. To increase your chances of a successful "ask," be sure to incorporate these steps:

1. Research and Prepare. Know your own case for support.

2. Open.

o Establish a relationship.

o Explain Rolling Thunder and the mission.

o Identify needs.

3. Discover.

o What are your prospect's motivations?

o What is their frame of reference or perspective?

4. Present "the ask."

o Frame the presentation from the prospect’s perspective.

o Capture their heart and mind.

o Describe what the prospect can do to...

 Help advance your mission

 Address current needs

 Satisfy their interests

5. Listen. Identify overt and hidden objections to "the ask."

6. Respond. Attempt to overcome objections.

7. Reach agreement and understanding.

o If the prospect makes a commitment, follow up immediately.

o If the prospect is not interested or is unwilling, attempt to establish an opportunity to make contact at another time and then follow up.

Tips for asking

 To ask is to cultivate.

o Asking is one of the best cultivation strategies we can hope for if done correctly.

 Don’t focus on the request only - back it up with the facts.

o Focus also on the prospect. Remember Rolling Thunder might very well be unknown to them -  more often, certainly the POW/MIA FACTS largely unknown.

 Create a dialogue, not a monologue.

o Don’t just talk about Rolling Thunder. Listen to what the prospective Host says. Watch his or her reaction. Use this opportunity to create meaningful conversation. Don’t be forced or artificial. Get to know the person even better. Create a bond of respect and trust.

Pay attention to details.

o Send a letter asking for an appointment.

o Call to set up a time.

o Get to know the prospect.

o Be flexible and listen to the prospect.

o Be aware of body language. If it seems like the wrong time to ask, say you'll come back.

o Don’t hurry "the ask."

o Talk program and ideas, not costs.

o Base your appeal on logic, and generate emotion through the case for support.

o Be positive and upbeat.

o Promote our cause.

o Know and stress the benefits of the request.

o Have a target timeframe in mind.

o Prepare a written proposal.

o Remind prospects how their support will influence others to respond.

o Leave with a signed pledge card or confirmation of a vote.

If it appears that you are not going to receive a commitment, work to prevent a "no." Give the prospect room to think about the proposal, and then follow up later.

 Follow up.

o Send a follow-up letter or note that states the pledge or next course of action.

o When you get a "yes" to your request, make sure you really understand why. Ask the Host and listen carefully. Learn from the "yes." Do the same for a "no."

By cultivating relationships with potential Hosts, you build resources for the future. Even if potential Hosts decline the first time, they will be more likely to remember Rolling Thunder and its mission in the future when they are in a better position to accept...

Shown Here

This is Mark Henderson, Ashley Henderson's Father. Ashley was killed in Iraq in 2006.

Making initial contact with living relatives (if possible) of those we want to honor is the first step.

In this case, it took time. We reached out on social media several times and over several months. Finally we were able to make direct contact through a relative.

We approached our local Rotary Club and they were able to donate all travel/lodging expenses for Mark to attend the Sign [Street] Dedication of/for his daughter at the High School she attended and graduated from.

This - Expenses - must be an accompanying consideration particularly in cases like this one where there is a significant distance between Family and Host, location.

The good news is that many organizations - Veteran and otherwise - are more often than not - willing to help. 

A Well planned solicitation

Will Make All The difference.

Initiative Tools

The TOOLBOX Page is updated monthly with a New Skill/Viewpoint.