Greetings! Our just-published article “Bringing Mindfulness to Fundraising” contains useful, actionable advice for fundraisers, organizers, solopreneurs, and anyone wanting to improve mental focus in a multi-faced, demanding worklife.* The first two sections are reprinted below. The entire article is here. Please feel free to reprint. We would love to know where you reprint the article.
(first two sections, published in the May/June 2012 issue of
I came to mindfulness as an organizer and then as a fundraiser. As a young organizer, I worked myself into the ground, equating doing with being. Within a few years, I had no adrenal function and had to rebuild. Now, I practice mindfulness willingly. Now, I am emotionally and spiritually resilient and have much more to offer others. And I have so much time. I hope this article spares you the long journey I took.
Mindfulness is paying sustained attention to the flow of thoughts in your mind with the aim of observing, not fixing or changing them. It helps us quiet our minds, reconnect them with our bodies, and develop embodied awareness.
This article aims to teach you to become more mindful in one area of your life with a two-part applied mindfulness practice for what the Journal calls resourcing—a more inclusive term than fundraising. In her article “Resourcing: Fundraising as Part of Supporting and Building Community” (Grassroots Fundraising Journal, November/December, 2011), Susan Raffo describes resourcing as “a way of thinking about getting what we need” and how it “has come to mean how the collective
body, or community, takes care of itself.” Resourcing includes fundraising as a way to care for our communities and ourselves.
By learning to “pay attention with a purpose,” you will begin to “look before you leap,” or more to the point, attend before you act, so that your work becomes easier and you find more peace in it. The ripple effect of this approach will extend far beyond raising money to raising the attention of communities.
Learning to “Spend” Your Attention Wisely
We love to talk about paying attention. Some spiritual leaders go so far as to call attention a “substance.” Many state that it is precious and in limited supply, so thinking of it in terms of money— “paying” attention—makes sense. Whether we like the money metaphor or not, when we are obliged to raise resources, we are likely to spend them more wisely. And if you are reading this, chances are that you are among those who have to raise resources.
In many respects, attention is no different from resources. Yet we often spend it without a thought, giving it freely to matters that really don’t deserve it. In the following paragraphs, I will try to show you how you can raise attention, so that you may be inspired to spend it more wisely, just as you do your resources. [For the rest of this article, click here.]