Friday, January 2, 2009

Joy of Fundraising

(The beautiful Blueberry Baby comes from a family blog in Kent, England.)

LIVE From the GNB Blueberry Pancake Desk...

Fundraising hooray!: $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, mix and match.

$135 in SUBSCRIPTIONS to go.

I decided to take a few days off over New Years to give everyone a rest. But we're BACK...

On Monday I'd promised to tell everyone what the best fundraiser I've ever worked with had to say about fundraising. This is a woman named Lynn Twist. At the time she made these remarks, she'd raised over 100 million dollars in 14 years.

Lynn Twist on The Joy of Fundraising.

This may sound very backward to you – but in my experience, people don’t often discover their commitment before they give their money. They discover their commitment in the action of giving money. I had thought that first you have to get them really convinced, clear and committed, and then they will give money. Actually, it’s often in the action of giving the money that they find their commitment.

I would say it is absolutely essential for you to be putting your own money into whatever you are fund-raising for. Your relationship with the person you are speaking with has a lot to do with your own relationship to your mission. They will contribute in the environment of your commitment first, and then they will find their own. A good fund-raiser is so convinced that it’s infectious.

More important than the message or words you use is who you are about it. That’s where the real power is in fund-raising, not in how logical and rational and worthwhile and clear and understandable your work is – but who you are being, how turned on you are, how deeply committed you are, how much the work you are asking them to fund means to you.

What you really get when you fund-raise is people – people who are invaluable to you, people who will give you way more than financial results, people who will give you their heart and soul and their relationships and their initiative and their energy. And that’s what we’re always really after. The money is kind of a fringe benefit and when people give money and become donors, they become owners, they become accountable in partnership with you, like stakeholders.

You will begin to develop an understanding of the boundaries between a gesture, where somebody gives you money to get you off their back, where it’s just enough to get you to stop asking, and a sacrifice, where people are going overboard and they begin to get resentful. Somewhere in between gesture and sacrifice there is an accurate contribution for every single person.

A request is an acknowledgment, especially when it is a request for money. It’s an acknowledgment that means you think highly enough of this person to ask them to make a financial contribution consistent with the vision that you are going to express to them, a vision that you know deep down inside they probably share.

There are three rules of fund-raising:
  • The first, the most important one, is to ask for the money. It’s a rule most people forget – they don’t like that part.
  • The second rule of fund-raising it to ask only those people who you see are fundamentally open to a commitment, those people in whom you can see integrity, those people you respect, those people you want to honor, who are naturally committed.
  • The third rule of fund-raising is to ask everyone.
These three rules are really a possible way to look anew at the world. You’ll never run out of prospects if you look at things that way. You’ll have plenty of candidates.

Most people don’t discover their wealth until someone gives them an opportunity to contribute money. This quote by the Indian poet Rabbinathe Tagore sums up what we’ve been talking about.
I lived on the shady side of the road and watched my neighbors’ gardens across the way reveling in the sunshine. I felt I was poor, and from door to door went with my hunger. The more they gave me from their careless abundance the more I became aware of my beggar’s bowl. Till one morning I awoke from my sleep at the sudden opening of my door, and you came and asked for alms. In despair I broke the lid of my chest open and was startled into finding my own wealth.
I'm asking each of you to take a moment and make a monthly commitment to help someone you know: Maggie Jochild. To commit from as little as $5 to $10 monthly, to $20 or $50, and for a few of you, all the way up to $100 or $200 a month.

Please take the opportunity of the New Year to help. We only need to raise $135 more on a monthly basis.

I'm asking you to please help us take care care of our friend, Maggie Jochild. We need your help to accomplish our mission. Maggie needs all of our help for basic necessities such as food for herself, water, keeping a roof over her head, food for her cat Dinah, electricity, a telephone and net access, along with pain medicines and medicines to avoid getting ill.

Please contribute $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, or in any combination.

It's in the giving of ourselves we discover ourselves.

This New Year, please help us help Maggie.

Happy New Year.