Let's talk about money.
I hope the first thing that popped into your head was "show me the money!" from Jerry McGuire. If not, here's a gift from me to you. You're welcome.
Money is a fascinating thing because of all the thoughts, feelings, and meaning we attach to it.
In order to meet with sponsors and build profitable relationships to raise money, you first have to cut through all of our own personal money crap that keeps you from achieving your fundraising goals.
So let's talk about some of the biggest roadblocks on your yellow brick road to fundraising success.
"Rich people have so much money because they're greedy"
This is a belief I run into AllTheTime in the nonprofit crowd. It rears it's ugly head and systematically ruins otherwise great causes from the inside out.
There's this idea floating around that rich people and/or companies get their money off the backs of hardworking regular people and therefore must be "evil".
The funny thing is that this VERY popular belief has very little to do with the "rich person" at all.
It's really about the story you picked up somewhere in life that struggling is noble, and anyone who isn't working their ass off for very little must have done it by cheating somehow.
This is SUPER dangerous because it means you're always going to sabotage your own success when you feel like things are going too well. Because the only way to prove you're a good person is by continuing to putter along.
Yeah, I vote no.
In reality, money is a resource just like any other that you trade for something else (time, people power, actual items).
I like to think of money as a microphone.
You can grab it and put more good things out in the world, or you can use it to be super obnoxious. Either way, all money does is make it so more people hear you.
The bottom line is that it doesn't make sense to resent people who can help you. With that attitude you better get comfy exactly where you are, because you're going to be there a while- and that's real.
The idea of "too expensive" vs. "worth the investment"
Often times when folks are tight on money, they think in terms of things being too expensive.
On the surface this sounds okay, I mean we made a budget so we’re just being responsible with our money right?
That's all fine and dandy, but it's easy to fall into a black and white mindset with this.
The truth is that nothing is really “too expensive”.
Before you start the angry hate-reply, hear me out.
How much something costs is just a number based on perceived value.
And what might not be that valuable to you, might be super valuable to someone else.
That catering proposal that had you laughing as you balled it up and alley-ooped it into the trashcan?
You had that reaction because you didn't agree on the stated value based on what you were looking for.
Someone else would look at that same proposal and think it was worth every penny and then some!
This also might change for you as you grow. What seemed crazy your first fundraiser, might not even make you blink the next year.
So instead of thinking of things as "too expensive", try to decide if they're worth the investment to YOU based on what you're trying to accomplish.
You don't want to feel like you're begging
Let's be real. Learning to fundraise can be awkward AF. I'll be the first to admit that I haaated making calls. When I first started I would use any excuse I could to put off asking for money.
I always felt like I was begging for money and it was really embarrassing.
That's because I was focusing on what I was asking people to give me instead of focusing on what I was giving them.
When you're fundraising, it's not begging for money.
It's offering people the opportunity to be a part of something awesome (that is, assuming you do believe the work you're doing can make a difference. If that's not the case, then yes, what you're doing is gross and you should stop).
Focus on what benefits you're offering your supporters so that trading their resources (time, money, people power) for that experience is totally worth it to them.
If your fundraiser is all about turning your supporters into raving fans, you'll never feel like you're begging again.
There are so many ways that our personal negative beliefs and stories can crash and burn our fundraising dreams.
My challenge to you, should you choose to accept it:
take 15 minutes to think about what you think about money that might be holding you back. Spoiler alert: many of them are things we heard our parents say.
Over the next week, pay attention to what your automatic responses are when you come across any situation involving money. This could be while meeting with a donor, trying to find a good photographer for your event, or even just while you're checking out the price of avocados at the grocery store. Write down what your automatic thoughts and feelings are.
Finally, let me know if any of these hit home for you (I know they did with me!) or what other blocks you discover in the comments below.