I’ve been feeling a bit melancholy lately. I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it’s the daily news I’m reading. Perhaps it’s the lingering winter scoffing at us for wanting spring so badly.
It also could be that I’ve had a few conversations recently with non-profits whose executive director or board is very anti-fundraising.
You know what I mean: “Fundraising is just a necessary evil, and if we can avoid it or not talk about it, we would be happier” type of thinking.
When non-profit leadership has this negative attitude about fundraising, it causes so many development professionals to feel dispassionate about their work. Missions get stifled because leadership refuses to invest in it appropriately, and eventually, no one in fundraising at an organization like this feels they can do their best work.
So, feeling this way, I dug up the book that Richard and I wrote, “It’s NOT Just About the Money,” and started reading the first chapter, which is all about the HEART of fundraising. This is something I do from time to time to get back in touch with why we do this work.
And it started to make me feel more positive. Here are a couple of snippets from that first chapter that helped me, and perhaps will inspire you or your boss to see why fundraising is not simply a necessary evil:
“Your donors, like everyone else on Earth, need to give. If we humans don’t give something, somewhere, to someone, we die spiritually. That is the grace of giving. Giving is about contact with something outside of ourselves.”
“As a fundraiser, you can help loosen money’s hold on people by encouraging them to give it away. When people give away their money, they begin to short-circuit the potentially negative influence money can have in their lives.”
“Giving allows donors to know they’re doing something significant. Filtering the money they earned doing their own work, into your organizations work makes their jobs and their lives—more meaningful.”
“Unfortunately, many non-profit directors – and even some fundraisers – still feel reluctant to ask for money… these feelings are somewhat understandable. In our culture, it’s not easy to ask for money. It feels embarrassing. It doesn’t seem right. But people need to give. And the more they give, the better. Why? Because giving will transform their lives – and it would transform the lives of others.”
As Richard and I have said often, and have personally witnessed, the act of someone giving away their resources they have earned through their own labor to help make a positive difference in the world is a mystical experience.
This is the mindset that non-profit leaders need to embrace and understand as they think about being good stewards of their organizations’ own resources. Not fully investing in your fundraising program does your donors and prospective donors an awful disservice. They want to give. They want to connect to your mission… allow them the opportunity to do that.