If you could do your work as a fundraiser from a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity, you would love your job.

In our western, white-male-dominated North American culture, we grow up with the view that there is “not enough.” Therefore, we should get as much as we can for ourselves before someone else gets it.

In all our years of fundraising, Richard and I have witnessed this same mindset in the non-profit community. “We have to get the money now!” “Go out and find a big donor so we can do this project.”

This philosophy or ethos of scarcity that pervades our industry is causing a multitude of problems. And it’s making us sick. Our fear of not having enough is driving us to unintentionally hurt our donors and the fundraisers that work with them.

Our rush to “get it now before it’s gone” negatively impacts how we relate to our donors and how we treat frontline fundraisers.

When getting the money becomes the sole objective, no matter how great the intentions are with what to do with that money, people get mistreated. People get hurt in the process.

This is why Richard and I have always said that this fundraising stuff has nothing to do with money. Rather, it has everything to do with helping people fulfill their passions and interests and find joy in the process of fulfilling them. Both your donor and YOU finding that joy.

What if “we” non-profits and fundraisers all felt there was enough out there? And our job was to inspire folks to share their abundance, so they could experience the joy of giving some of it away to help make the world a better place?

Would we relax a bit more? Could we allow fundraisers to take the time to develop authentic relationships with donors? Might non-profit leaders invest more in the whole process of helping a donor find joy in their giving?

Fundraising is not about getting. It’s about giving. When we as non-profits give away our time and resources to build relationships with donors, more is given back. We just have to live in that truth.

There is enough.


This post originally appeared on the Passionate Giving Blog on February 22, 2021.