As a non-profit fundraiser (or even if that’s not your job title -- we all play the role) you know that you have one main, over-arching objective: to raise more money (and as quickly as possible.) But you are continually told by experts and professionals that “fundraising isn't about money, it’s about relationship building.”
Well, what if fundraising really is about money ... and our relationship to it?
And what if, by strengthening your relationship with money, you could attract more of it?
The young, modern fundraiser’s dilemma
Money itself is not scary - it's specially-printed paper the color of spring moss. Yet asking someone for money (regardless of how well we know them) invokes a deep emotional response. That’s mostly because money is personal. The inside of someone’s checkbook is a very private place and, for some, just mentioning annual personal income can cause anxiety and tension.
But another reason anxiety can build when talking about money is rooted in the energy of money itself -- energy that is fed by our own thoughts and perceptions.
Think about it. What comes to mind when you picture the word money?
Perhaps some of these words: lack, greed, dirty, budget, anger, grief, economy, war, divorce, crime, poverty, welfare, rich, taxes, pain.
For fundraisers, that's a scary thought. Why do ‘divorce’ and ‘greed’ come to mind when we think of money?! Some of those -- mostly negative words -- come with additional baggage. Anger, for example, is often associated with violence.
Shouldn't we, as "raisers of funds for a worthy cause," be thinking of words more like ‘prosperity’ and ‘abundance’ and 'success?' Well, yes. That’s exactly right. But its not your fault. Generally speaking, there is a widely-accepted misconception of money.
Money is more than paper, plastic and PayPal accounts. Money is energy: fluid, alive, powerful, and transformational.
Throughout history, we've created what money is and controlled how it moves through society. This collective acceptance of money sets the stage for how we feel when we ask for, talk about, and receive it.
But we often give too much of a certain energy to money. Money is only as powerful as we think it is. I repeat: Money is only as powerful as we think it is.
Stephen Richards, a well-known self-help author and TV personality, says that “reality is a projection of your thoughts or the things you habitually think about.”
In other words, we create our reality through our habitual thoughts.
For centuries, the energy of money has been tainted by negative thoughts of greed, anger, and fear. The greed of those who have too much money and not enough love in their hearts. The anger of those who recognize that the abuse of money perpetuates crime and violence, funds wars, and destroys lives. And the fear of millions of people struggling with ‘so little’ or ‘not enough’ money - so much fear that when they finally get some, money becomes much more than the means to pay the bills: it becomes deeply connected to their (and their family's) happiness, health, and ultimately, their survival.
It makes sense, then, that when we think of money, some of those negative words might come to mind.
What can we do?
By strengthening our relationship with money, we can begin to disassociate it from fear, crime, and all that negative energy.
When we associate money with positive words, the law of attraction shifts the energy of money so that, eventually, money no longer carries the weight of negative thoughts. Money flows more freely, uninhibited and thereby stronger ... at least in our own minds.
With positive thoughts of success and words like "abundance" surrounding your relationship with money, you are inadvertently attracting more of it. And who doesn't want to attract more money?
Consider the following suggestions to improve your relationship with money:
- Organize your thoughts about money. Notice your thoughts before, during, and after you make your next ‘ask.’ Are they positive or negative? Manage any negative thoughts with words like ‘success’ and ‘prosperity’ (and be sure to pat yourself on the back for trying.)
- Shift your perspective about what money is. In early history, money was considered sacred, but time and technology changed that. Through a shift in perspective, we can return money to its place as sacred in our society. Next time someone stuffs a sweaty, balled-up twenty dollar bill into your organization's empty water jug at an event, see that they are placing in front of you a sacred offering, a token to your hard work.
- Increase your awareness of money’s energetic presence. When you are at lunch or in a meeting with someone discussing financials and fundraising goals, notice your energy, the other person’s energy, and the energy of the room. Is your heart beating faster in your chest? Can you tell if the other person feels comfortable? Does the room feel heavy or light? Notice what energy is driving the conversation. What, if anything, can you do to change or improve the situation?
- Work to strengthen your own relationship to money and lead by example. Talk about money with confidence (not arrogance) and valor. In other types of relationships, we may try to “fix things” or go out of our way to attempt to control or manipulate the situation. Remember that in your relationship with money, you have always held the power: your habitual thoughts create your reality.
When we see every donation or pledge as a gift of love and appreciation and feel sincerely grateful, then we more deeply understand that our relationship with money truly is what fundraising is all about.