The group shouted out answers like: directing resources to things that urgently need to be done on the planet; listening to people’s passions and translating those into action; joining together around shared values and a common goal; and many more. I drew a line down the center of the board and asked another question: “Those all seem like really good and important things. So why is fundraising so hard?” The answers were the usual suspects: fear of rejection; feeling subservient; beliefs around money; fear of seeming weak or needy; and so on.
I do this same exercise in every class I teach and in every class I see the same thing: a disconnect between the possibility of what fundraising can be and the limited way in which it is often experienced and practiced.
Fundraising, when stripped of all the barriers we put up around it, is about discovering meaning and how to translate that meaning into action. Meaning, of course, cannot be taught. It can only be discovered. Or, perhaps, simply remembered. And we can only guide others to remember it when we remember it in ourselves.