The Secret to Fundraising is One You Already Know

green egg on green moss

The secret to raising money may be camouflaged like this green egg on the forest floor until you accept its obviousness: renewal and fertility; the promise of peaceful, ethical prosperity.

The Secret to Fundraising is So Obvious It’s Hidden

Most people have no idea they already have the basic skills needed for fundraising because they take their skills for granted, and think they have to be a certain kind of person to raise money.

Fundraising Secret, Revealed

Ready? Here it is:

The secret to fundraising is cultivating relationships based on trust and warmth.

Biggest Fundraising Mistake

The biggest mistake fundraisers make is believing we can only be successful if we come across as someone other than who we are, usually someone we think fits the stereotype of a successful fundraiser. This stinks for you and your donors. You can’t have relationships based on trust if you are pretending to be a stereotype. It’s also very hard to be peaceful and ethical in your fundraising if you are indulging in this mistake.

The secret to fundraising means you

  1. Connect at a human level
  2. Build a bond from the donor to the organization (and not to you alone)
  3. Engage the power of the relationship for the long-term thriving of the organization.

Not pretending to be anything other than ourselves conveys integrity.  Integrity is crucial for trust. It also conveys a comfort with ourselves that puts donors at ease, allowing warmth to develop between you much more easily.  This is how to build sustainable fundraising friendships that will last an organizational lifetime. As you know, it takes a lot less work to maintain good strong friendships than to build new ones.

There is no special way to look, behave, or speak to be a good fundraiser. I’ve known great fundraisers from every social class.  Anyone can raise money. What is essential is preparation: know the basics, and know your audience, your donor(s). This is essential especially for people you think are “born” fundraisers!

Stay Peaceful with Money

young monk sitting in river pouring water

Staying peaceful with the flow of money takes focus on what is most important to you about money. Money is like water, it is always changing. We sit in the river, pouring it where we hope it will go. Sometimes it does! Image: sasint, on pixabay.

Staying Peaceful with Money is Challenging

Money is challenging. The idea you can stay peaceful with money may sound impossible, even contradictory. Money changes. Its nature is to change. The value of even a dollar changes! The amount you earn may change and for sure what it will buy changes, because what things cost changes.

But staying peaceful with money doesn’t mean expecting money not to change. It means you don’t change with respect to money.

When you are peaceful, you don’t over-value or under-value money. You have a relationship to money that is fundamentally healthy, and this healthy relationship is what stabilizes money in your life.

Your stable relationship with money is what keeps you peaceful with money.

Cultivate a Healthier Relationship to Money

The very first step in cultivating a healthier relationship–as with any relationship–is to examine the relationship you have now. Begin now, don’t worry about the past, simply observe. You can even keep a money journal exploring your feelings about your spending alongside what is traditionally called a “money journal,” which is a spending record.

To Feel Peaceful, Seek What is Ethical

One of the simplest ways to feel peaceful with money is to ensure you feel ethical. Our relationship to money should both feel and be ethical. If it’s not both, we will feel nauseous or scared or guilty about money, not peaceful.

Here is how to tell if your relationship to money is ethical:

  • you feel good about how you earn money
  • you feel good about how you use (spend, invest, give away) money.

If you don’t feel good about both, it’s time to zero in on one and start making changes–small changes, slowly.*

Small Changes, Peaceful Results

What will start to happen is that your peacefulness with the ebb and flow of money-making and money-spending will increase. You will notice you are proactive about money. You are no longer concerned with what others think about money, especially your money, the money that flows through your hands. You have thought about it, prayed or meditated about it if that’s your way, and you are centered in yourself about it. You have considered and made good decisions about it, even if you haven’t completely achieved your decisions. You can explain to anyone who will listen what your decisions are, and where you are on your path to achieving them. And it is quite likely others will listen because so few will speak to them the way you do and inspire them the way you do.

Affordable Help is Available

If you would like help making peaceful money decisions and achieving them, contact us. Or keep reading this blog! Or both. 🙂

*It is also possible that your relationship to money may already be perfectly ethical, but you feel it is unethical. This is something we can help with.

 

Make Fundraising Easier

peaceful swan swimming

Easier fundraising is ethical and peaceful.  This allows you to navigate the flow of funds serenely. Image by Public Domain Pictures.

You can navigate the waters of fundraising as serenely as this swan if you make sure your fundraising is both ethical and peaceful.

Two Ways to Tell if Your Fundraising is Peaceful and Ethical

  1. You love fundraising.
  2. Your fundraising is successful.

To Make Fundraising Truly Easier, Make It Both Ethical and Peaceful

Both #1 and #2 are needed for easier fundraising. You can have #2, lots of money coming in, and you still won’t have easier fundraising. That’s because you don’t love it. And you don’t love it because it’s not peaceful or ethical. You need both #1 and #2 or you will literally become sick of fundraising–the mere thought will make you want to throw up.

When fundraising makes you nauseous, it’s a sign you are out of integrity with yourself.

Easier fundraising comes from fundraising with integrity.  Fundraising that feels out of integrity is not always unethical. But it is always unpeaceful.

How to Tell if You’re Making Fundraising Easy or Hard on Yourself

If fundraising makes you queasy, it’s either unethical or it feels unethical to you. Those are two different things:

  • Actually unethical fundraising is illegal, manipulative, obnoxious, a violation of your mission, your program, and your highest good.
  • Fundraising that feels unethical but is not any of the above things may feel like one of these:
    • it may feel scary, possibly because talking about money was scary when you were growing up and it’s not much easier now as an adult having to talk about money–with strangers!
    • it may embarrass you because deep down, you feel that talking about money is just plain rude and that money matters are private.
    • it may anger you to have to fundraise, because people should just know they need to give without being asked.

Make fundraising easier by finding a way you can do that is ethical and peaceful.

Figuring Out Your Easier Fundraising

Making sure your fundraising is ethical is simple because it’s fact-based. It’s either legal or it’s not. You can research or ask a lawyer or nonprofit mentor (or me) and find out. It’s either manipulative or it’s not. Again, you can ask your donors, your staff, your heart, a mentor, or me, and you will get the answer.

Making sure your fundraising is peaceful can be harder because you have to dig inside yourself to figure out what’s bugging you about doing it: is it scary? is it embarrassing? are you angry you have to do it?

If you want us to write more about what bugs YOU about fundraising, please comment to this post. We’d love to take our cue from you in helping you have easier fundraising.

RAISING CLARITY Gets Clarity

Eyesight-testing lenses

RAISING CLARITY is changing the way we describe our work on our website and blog. Seeing ourselves in a clearer way depends on having the right lenses to look through. Let us share our clearer vision with you in this post. Image: “2014/365/94 Seeking Clarity” by Alan Levine is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

We’ve been getting clarity on our own work. You’ll laugh because you already know this–

Here is what RAISING CLARITY does:

  • Peaceful & ethical nonprofit fundraising
  • Peaceful & ethical money management

Wow! Suddenly it’s clear why we talk about antiracism, developing intuition, and integrating mindfulness: they are  part of

  • Peaceful & ethical nonprofit fundraising
  • Peaceful & ethical money management

Racism? Totally not peaceful or ethical when it comes to fundraising–and let me tell you how it impacts the way you make money!

Integrating mindfulness into your fundraising and money management? This is vital! I’ve published an article about it here you can download free.

The people we serve don’t just need more money. They want to come to peace with money. What is moving us into new relationship with money is our love for the world, other people, animals, the environment, the arts, health and healing, freedom from want or violence.

We want to change the world, and we need more money to do it!

New readers, welcome! Readers of many years, thank you!

I want your comments, I long for your feedback, honor me with your responses.


The person who helped us with our clarity in a way no one else ever has is the fabulous Victoria Nicks.

Clarity is a Moving Target

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Image by Andym5855 of James Wright’s “Target.” Uploaded to Flikr, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

I was talking with a client soul-colleague last week about gaining clarity. She quoted me in an interview I gave here about gaining clarity and it felt like she was using my words to flog herself about not being clear. So I got clear–and honest. I said, “Clarity is a moving target! I get unclear all the time! And then I have to get clear again!” She said,

Ah-ha!

and that’s when I realized I had a blog post on my hands–and that I had better ‘fess up. Clarity IS a moving target! There’s no other path to RAISING CLARITY than to keep getting clear. It’s a process, and you do get clear–and then something changes, and you have do to it again.

This isn’t a pitch for more business for us; our work is deliberately long-lasting because we teach you the tools of how to get clear for yourself, we don’t hoard them. It’s a pitch for compassion for yourself.

Here are the steps to RAISING CLARITY:

  1. Make a mess of something.
  2. Realize you’re totally confused.
  3. Realize you know where to get help.
  4. Work with us–a little or a lot.
  5. Specifically, do a dreamtime or discussion session with us, or both, helping you see where you are unclear and how that’s making you make a mess.
  6. Get a bit clearer.
  7. Take a week to use your new clarity to see into the mess.
  8. Perhaps do another session with us–or use our tools yourself.
  9. See more clearly into the mess; watch the mess dissolve.
  10. Repeat.

Do you see these as concentric circles? I do–the concentric circles of a target!

That’s because the more clarity we see, the more there is to see.

Increasing clarity is PROGRESS. It’s not a bad thing to see you need more of it: it’s a great thing. It’s intrinsic to being organic, moving, growing creatures not just that we change, but that as we zero in, we see more–and then can zero in again to a new clarity, and so on. With this commitment to increasing clarity, we can take responsibility for more and more in our lives, and have more and more “peaceful progress with plenty of support,” as I say in our one and only video.

This is what we’ve noticed and what we’re good at helping people with, especially but not limited to money and work issues. It’s the juicy game we call the Divine Curriculum: how the Cosmic Something or our higher selves work with us to become better people through our money and work issues! Let’s play this game with zest for the process.

Offered with love,

Beth, RAISING my own CLARITY!

 

 

Educate, Generate!

RAISING CLARITY blog readers will remember Arianna Groover-Landis. She and her friend Bella Zucker co-star in this post about fundraising. When Arianna hired me for guidance on her fundraising campaign Educate to Generate a Better Future, I immediately knew you’d be fascinated to hear what she was up to at the ripe old age of just barely 14!

For me, what’s most exciting about these two young women’s fundraising campaign “Educate to Generate a Better Future” is that Arianna and Bella
Arianna Groover-Landis and Bella Zucker

Arianna Groover-Landis and Bella Zucker. Photo by a fellow Mountain SOL School student.

came up with the desire and the idea to do it just because

they love the environment, and education, and what their chosen beneficiary Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School (Mountain SOL) is doing for kids and the environment.

I asked each young woman to tell us a bit about herself. Here’s what they shared:

Arianna wrote: My name is Arianna Groover-Landis and I live in Terra Alta, West Virginia, on a farm. I love to be outdoors, hike, play in streams, music and read. I am homeschooled and in 8th grade. Some of my future goals are to be good at archery, trapping, and tanning pelts. Some of my achievements are that I can herbally treat wounds and I am a walking calculator (most of the time).
Bella wrote: My name is Bella Zucker, I live in Morgantown West Virginia and I love music and the outdoors. I am homeschooled and in 8th grade. Some of my future goals are I want to go to medical school, play piano with an orchestra and I want to travel to all seven continents. Some of my achievements are that I ran a half marathon and I can speak part of 6 languages.

One cool thing I want you to get from this post is that

if they make fundraising look easy, fun, and like anyone could do it with a little stick-to-it-iveness and simple organization, that’s because it is! This is our view of fundraising in a nutshell. The more simply you’re organized, the easier it is to put the fun back into fundraising and the better your campaign will work.

Of course my first question about their campaign was what made them want to take it on?

We both want to help the environment and we decided that the best way was to raise money to donate to a local environmental organization that educates people so we decided to have this fundraiser.

And I thought we should know a few basic things. For example, the name of the campaign is

The Educate to Generate a Better Future Campaign

Their campaign starts today–March 8th, and ends on May 31, 2017.

They intend to raise $2000.

Arianna and Bella at first considered splitting donations they raised among five different nonprofits. I asked why they chose just one organization:

We chose just Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School because it is a new organization and we want to help it grow and it is a meaningful local organization. All of our donations will go to them. Here is a link to their website. It is a local organization that focuses on the education of kids of all ages on the environment and builds their love of the outdoors through hiking, backpacking, tracking, climbing, and much more.

I think they’re going to be wildly successful, so I asked what happened if they raised more than planned?

We will give all of the donations to Mountain SOL.

And I asked what they’ll do if they raise their goal before May 31st,  which I think is likely?

Still keep fundraising until the 3 months are up.

I wondered why they had chosen Mountain SOL. Bella responded,

We chose Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School because it is a new organization and we want to help it grow. Mountain SOL School has been a part of my  life for 3 years now. It has taught me countless things and helped to develop my love for the woods and sense of duty towards protecting the environment. It has done the same with all of the other students that are a part of it.

Arianna added,

Likewise, when Bella told me about this program, I wanted to go and see it. They bring out the adventurer in kids and teach kids to be leaders. It is a program that teaches kids to love the environment and learn to live in it and make the most of nature without abusing it. This program helps kids be the best they can be.

These are beautiful reasons to want to raise funds. We can learn from this example to do it too!

If you are interested in donating to The Educate to Generate a Better Future Campaign to benefit Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School, you can do so by check or credit card. Here’s what you do:

1. Please make checks out to “Mountain SOL” and send to

c/o Arianna Groover-Landis

1771 Oak Grove Rd

Terra Alta WV  26764

OR

2. If you would rather donate by credit card, click on the link below:

http://www.mountainsol.org/about/donate/

When you get to the box asking where you heard about Mountain SOL, say

“Arianna and Bella”. 

Face to Face with the Tyrant

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Emotion. Alternate title: Angry Clown with Frog Hat. Image by Scott Robinson, who says, “This started as a photo of a flower. I was just playing with the paintshop tools….That’s when this fellow jumped out.” Accessed on Flikr via Creative Commons Search.

I’ve blogged a lot about the Tyrant. Always in connection with money, however. For years, I’ve explained the difference between the unhealthy Tyrant and the healthy Warrior archetypes by using Donald Trump as an illustration of the Tyrant. There’s a lot of confusion around healthy moneymaking and investing, and healthy fundraising. I knew no one wanted to be thought of like Trump when it came to money.

My Tyrant has become President.

Tyrant energy rules right now. Perhaps you’ve noticed it in yourself?

I certainly have. I’ve been exceptionally angry. Underneath that, I’ve been extra-fearful and underneath that, sad. Maybe you can see this in yourself, if you look. Maybe you’ve already begun. Or maybe you long ago made friends with your Tyrant.

I’ve behaved badly to people I love. Deeply badly, and yes, this is an apology to you, B and to you, S.

I have always been terrified of the Tyrant. I can sense a Tyrant at 20 paces. The Tyrant was the one type I let myself loathe freely. In a crowded room, it was the one person I let myself flee.

But no more. I find I am not fleeing and I’m not loathing. Nor am I confronting or making friends. I am simply face-to-face, being-with. Acknowledging, learning, watching.

I sit, face-to-face, with the Tyrant.

I no longer run.I no longer hide.

More than any other thing right now, getting comfortable with the Tyrant is TRANSFORMING ME. I am not afraid! Of myself. Or President Trump. Or what he and his are doing to my planet, my economy, my friends. I am not afraid.

I do not dramatize, I do not blame. I do not flee or loathe or shy away. I act, and I rest. I stick around. I resist–and do much beyond resistance. I experience pain but not suffering.  I keep open. I keep alert. I keep face to face because:

The safest place for a Tyrant is face to face.

No one wants to be thought of  like Trump when it comes to power. The shadow of the Tyrant is loneliness. Don’t leave the Tyrant alone.

WE give you HOMEWORK!

I found myself writing homework for five different clients last week and realized: wow! what fun! for me and for them!

RAISING CLARITY may be the only people proud of giving you HOMEWORK. I know, I know, you probably remember homework like this:320px-I_Don't_Know_ANY_of_This!

When you work with us, it feels like this:

320px-ChaliceWell(GB)QuietReflectionSignyou can count on your dollars stretching f-a-a-a-rther by us giving you homework that we review, often for free, in between sessions. Here’s an explanation we love:

I do not advise working with Beth if you do not want to work hard. Beth will do everything she says she’ll do and expect the same of you. She will guide you through a process of clarification which will give you and your group a clear goal and empower you to achieve it for yourself.

This is from our new-and-improved Testimonials page. It’s one of our all-time favorite endorsements: you will work smarter, not harder with us, and we promise you’ll raise clarity. You’ll gain focus, specificity, detail, depth, richness in what you came to us for.

Glorious Weaving, Spirit of Abundance: A Guest Post with Dena Gartenstein Moses of Vermont Weaving School

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Dena Gartenstein Moses, Weaver. Founder of Vermont Weaving School: “Glorious Cloth, Spirited Instruction.”

I found Vermont Weaving School’s brochure at a tourist info center/rest stop this Summer. It was instantly clear to me from the “voice” of the brochure that an extraordinary person had written it. The combined beauty of the work and service to students made for a deeply engaging brand that I just knew delivered even more than it promised. I had to know more, because it was sparklingly clear the School’s founder Dena Gartenstein Moses had teachings to offer about abundance as well as weaving. I only asked Dena one question–and I had a whole blog post.  (Emphases boldfaced in the text are mine.) This post is my sacred holiday gift to you for 2016. Enjoy! And thank you, Dena!


What made you feel like Vermont Weaving School could be a viable business?

I didn’t know at first. I had a vision and a desire, but I have had many visions in my life and many paths I could happily take. I took small steps at first and then watched to see where the universe would meet me.

I think it’s about reading the signs. Combining desire, vision, intuition, flexibility and also knowing when the roadblocks mean you need to work harder or be more creative and when the roadblocks mean you are on the wrong path.

I had been holding the vision of the school for twenty years. When my son turned three, I started thinking about my next steps. My first vision was to have a building that housed a craft school and community studios. I had thought of it as a community endeavor. I didn’t really believe that I could make it happen but I wrote it down anyway and figured that if I didn’t start networking and looking at buildings then there was no chance that it would happen. I know that I am often a more powerful manifester than I believe myself to be and that the feelings that tell me what is or isn’t possible in my life might be my intuition, but sometimes they are the voice of my fear. The trick is either to recognize the difference, or to move forward anyway and figure it out as I go.

The universe responded. Within two weeks of starting the process, I found our building. It didn’t fit the vision perfectly but it had a lot of potential and felt right. I visited many times, sitting and listening.

The building that we found was one that my husband and I decided to buy privately. It was an almost perfect fit for a school, plus it had living space, and extra rooms that we could rent out as art studios. While we loved our original house and weren’t thinking about moving, seeing this new possibility opened up a conversation of ways that our home wasn’t really working for us and how this building would fit our family better. The building had been on the market for years because everyone who had looked at it couldn’t figure out how to change it to meet their needs.

The process wasn’t easy. There were times where it was hard to figure out if the setbacks were signs that I needed to work harder, or signs that this was the wrong path. One example of this is that when we began to explore selling our home, the first realtor we spoke to saw many negatives and suggested asking a much lower price than we had thought. I didn’t settle. I knew that there were so many great things about our home that he was overlooking and found a realtor who loved our home, saw what was special about it, encouraged us to ask top-dollar and then found us a wonderful buyer who paid our asking price.

We had another stumbling block when the building was being appraised. The building had a tenant who was interested in staying on after we closed. She was in her studio working when they appraiser came and he made a note in the appraisal report about her studio. When the bank found out about this, we no longer fell into the category of a standard home mortgage. We were fairly close to closing at this point. I put everything else in my life on hold and spent two weeks following every possible lead. I was told over and over again that because our building was not what the banks were used to dealing with, they didn’t want to take on the mortgage. In the end, I found a very local bank, spoke to someone who knew and loved the building, and had to accept some terms that I wasn’t completely comfortable with in the hopes of straightening it out later. By this point, I knew so deeply that this was our path that I was willing to do just about anything to make it happen.

I believe in growing a business, taking small steps and paying attention. I had many different ideas for how the business could grow and my plan was to plant seeds and see what manifested. For me, the right path is (almost) never about investing a huge amount of time or money into something that is unsure. It is about taking small risks but continuing to move forward. When we bought the building, I worked the numbers and knew that with the added income from studio rentals, the difference in our expenses would be about $500 per month.  I was fairly confident that between having a bigger studio and offering classes, this would not be a difficult amount to come up with. Any additional money would go towards growing my business.

The original equipment had come to me a few years before. I checked my email one day and there was a notice about a weaving school going out of business and selling all of their equipment. I knew that someday I wanted to start a school and that getting the equipment was important. I couldn’t make it to the sale, but called. I was able to secure six small floor looms and a lot of equipment for $500. The equipment sat in the attic, patiently waiting, until it was time.

I have tried many different things in the past eight years. I have paid close attention to what is working and what isn’t. Most of my marketing has been inexpensive to free and very personal. I talk to potential students while exhibiting at craft fairs and occasionally I demonstrate at events. I applied for, and received, a grant from the Vermont Arts Council to help create my brochure. When I had it, I put money into creating a beautiful website. I listen to my students about what their needs are and have based my offerings on what I hear. I have sold all of the original looms and slowly replaced them with newer and better equipment. As my students have looked to buy looms, I have become a loom dealer which has brought in unexpected income. As my income from the school increases, I am able to let go of work that is not serving me. Sometimes there is risk involved, but I pay attention to how it feels in my body and move with that.

It is important to me to treat each student as a sacred being who is coming to me, looking for something. Often it is about weaving, but sometimes it is about something much deeper. I keep my classes small so I can work with each student in a very personal way. Twenty years ago, my prayer was, “Please God, help me find my gift and give it to the world.” I feel incredibly blessed to have seen this path and to have had the universe meet me strongly and clearly.

I added one question after reading her story:

If you wish to, tell me how you came to pray that prayer, and if you have a mentor or a guide who has inspired you.

I really don’t know where it came from. I have had teachers and mentors along the way, but I don’t think that was it. It was very deep and clear inside of me…there were so many times that my path was confusing, unclear, filled with drama. I had a restlessness that I didn’t know what to do with. I quit a truly amazing job where I was highly paid, working with a group of people I adored with almost no thought. I moved out of my dream apartment in the middle of the night because of personal drama; I was engaged and had it fall apart with almost no notice. I knew I wanted to have a family but had no idea how to make it happen and it felt like my time clock was ticking fast. In some ways, that prayer was what got me through.

For more information: www.vermontweavingschool.com

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To read Dena’s “Artist’s Statement,” click here.

RAISING CLARITY on HOW to be nice to yourself at the holidays

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“Pampered Pitbull,” by remitaylor on Flikr, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

It’s the holidays. Surely you can take some time off. You maybe can’t go out and buy yourself anything. (Why not?)

Give the gift that keeps on giving: Take time off for yourself!

Many voices tell you to do this. Few tell you how. BELOW is our simple three-step process for giving yourself the best gift of all–time:

Step 1: Schedule it.

Step 2: Protect it: keep your date with yourself!

Step 3. Enjoy it.

(Repeat)

For more ideas, click here. (You’ll find posts like this one I revised especially for you this season!) And I won’t resist pointing you to more posts on the three steps if you need support:

Step 1: Schedule it. 

Also: Appropriocrastinate!

Step 2: Protect your mental space.

Also: Date yourself.

Step 3: Enjoy it! (Now if you need help with this one…! Instead of me adding more of our posts for you to read, how ’bout you write to me about how it went, your gift you gave yourself of time?)