Winter Fundraising is Harvesting
By this point in the year, everyone is fundraising. And by this point in the year, our fundraising should feel like harvesting.
But too often, it doesn’t. It feels frantic, desperate. The opposite of relaxed and patiently harvesting the fruits of our relationships and labors.
The Difference is Trust
The difference between most fundraising happening now and harvesting is trust.
Trust is the feeling that should be coming through now: we trust you trust us. Please give to support our work because you trust us to continue doing good work.
Trust is because we know we have done well all year long. We know our work, and we trust it was good, as good as we could make it all year.
Trust is also because we know the relationships we have built, and we trust those. These are even more important than our work, because relationships are what make world-healing possible.
So at this time of year, we relax, we ask, and we patiently receive.
Harvesting is Receiving
Patiently receiving means we get out of the way. We ask, and we get out of the way. This is impossible to do in a spirit of desperation. We empty, we ask, we receive. Wow! That brings me back to one of our very earliest blog posts, “Empty, Ask, Receive.” (Even then, I liked Oxford commas!)
Trust in the harvest now. The harvest will see you through.
What if You are Having Trouble Trusting and Harvest-Asking?
Fundraising now is not about what you are doing that is new. It’s about all the wonderful things you’ve already done with and for the people you already know. The reality is that right now, no new programs are being created. There is nothing new in the air. It’s the season of stillness.
Everything and everyone (in our hemisphere anyway) is winding down. You should be too. Your supporters sure are! They need a break. You need a break.
First, stop frenzying. Go to a cafe, and take a breath. On the clock! As part of your work.
Second, while you are there, slim down your asks. Every ask you make is an ask of your supporters–but also of yourself. Make as few asks as you can, reduce your workload.
Third, analyze and self-reflect: what makes you anxious about trusting in your work and relationships this season?
Take an unsparing inventory of what’s bugging you about asking with trust and not desperation. This is your to-do list for next year.
Fourth, act on your to-do list. Make it better next year. Make detailed plans to act on at least some of the things you wish you had done this year and then calendar them.
Fifth, go back into your workflow, let everything on the to-do list go, make your slimmed-down asks, and stand by to receive what you receive. Enter the emptiness and allow harvesting to fill you up.
Questions? Challenges? Please ask!