Have you ever applied to be a member of some organization? It could have been as a volunteer at a nonprofit, a paid position at a for-profit, a member of a networking group, even an internship. Did you expect to hear back quickly with an answer, no matter what it was?

A while ago, I wrote a piece on ways an organization can be seen as welcoming to outsiders, because I had visited several networking groups and hadn’t been made to feel welcome before, during, or after. With all the competition for bodies in the seats, I was saddened and surprised.

It can take a lot of guts and confidence to apply to be a part of a closed group, even if others agree you’d be a good fit. You send off your request, hoping that the decision makers see that you have qualities that would enhance the group’s mission and the willingness to plunge right in and do whatever is needed.

Then you wait. And you wait. And you wait some more. One week. Two weeks. A month.

You wonder what’s going on. But whom do you ask? HOW do you ask? You don’t want to come across as begging or demanding; that would be awful. You don’t want to ask someone in the group, because maybe it would sound negative in a way you’re not aware of.

Does there come a point when you say, OK, whatever? Do you cancel your request? Do you gather up courage you didn’t know you had and ask the top dog directly?

Has this happened to you? What would you or did you do?

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