If you're looking to raise money for a project, put yourself in the position of a donor for a moment. Everyone is asking you for money. You are under siege. So how would you like to be approached? No one likes being treated like an ATM machine. But what if someone asked you to become a creative partner in solving a problem that you both deeply cared about?

According to Jeff Walker, former CEO & Co-Founder of J.P. Morgan Partners, if one approaches an investor with the notion that financial "help" is needed, the relationship has little room for growth. "You never come to someone on bended knee," says Walker. Rather, encourage participatory, collaborative relationships with investors.

In a lesson on Big Think Edge, the only forum on YouTube designed to help you get the skills you need to be successful in a rapidly changing world, Walker introduces a technique he has dubbed “Jeffersonian Dinners.”

A community of engaged partners can be built literally over a dinner, as well as through other forms of "open-spirited, curiosity-driven, person-to-person connections." The basic idea is that passion-centric dialogue and problem solving prove more effective than the more formal "pitch and present" approach to fundraising. 

Here's one example. There is a wide range of people who have networks, or have funds, or who have knowledge and expertise in solving the problem of deaths from malaria. One million people used to die from malaria every year. Today, after a collaboration came together, the number is down to 450,000. While this figure is still horrific, Walker says the goal for the next two-and-a-half years is "to go down to zero."

So how did that collaboration come about? As Walker explains in the video below, people lowered their own egos, and as a group adopted a number of tools and techniques to bring everyone together and form an open dialogue.

Sign up for a free trial subscription on Big Think Edge and watch Walker's lesson here:

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