When it comes to fundraising, there are two basic types of people in the world:
There are those who see the world as a place of great scarcity, where a limited amount of money and resources are fought over, where one person competes against another for a dollar from a donor or an hour from a volunteer, and where, when one organization receives a donation, it lessens the pool of donations available to all other charities, and…
There are those who see the world as a place of great abundance, where there are far more resources available than could possibly ever be used, where there exists much more money, time, and talent than all of the non-profits in the world could possible use, and where, when one organization receives a donation, it does not at all lessen the total pool of donations available to other charities…
What type of fundraiser are you? Do you see the world as a place of scarcity, or as a place of abundance?
When I first started fundraising, I saw the world as a place of scarce and limited resources. I saw other organizations as competitors for donors’ time and volunteers’ efforts. But, as I have progressed through my career, I have come to see the world as a place of great abundance, with almost unlimited wealth, time, and talent for the asking.
I came to realize that there were thousands of people who would be willing to give to non-profits, but who didn’t, because no organization had cast a compelling vision for them.
I came to realize that there were thousands of current donors who could give more, but who didn’t, because the organization they supported hadn’t asked for more, or hadn’t developed big enough goals to support even bigger asks.
I came to realize that there were thousands of people with free time on their hands who would enjoy volunteering, but who didn’t, because no organization had given them a job worth doing.
You see… I came to realize that the reason many people didn’t give of their time, talent, or treasure (or didn’t give more than they already are giving) isn’t because they couldn’t afford to, or because they didn’t want to, but because no one had cast a bigger than life vision for them, and asked them to support that vision in a meaningful way.
Fundraising is different when you see the world as a place of abundance, not scarcity.
In a scare world, non-profits don’t hit their fundraising goals because no one has money to give, the economy stinks, or other organizations are “stealing” their donors. In an abundant world, non-profits don’t hit their fundraising goals because they aren’t thinking big enough, aren’t communicating with enough people, aren’t making big enough asks…
In a scare world, organizations don’t have enough volunteers because people are too busy, no one wants to get their hands dirty, and people like other organizations more than yours. In an abundant world, organizations don’t have enough volunteers because they aren’t giving people enough responsibility, aren’t getting them invested enough in their mission, aren’t saying thank you for their work.
Seeing the world as a place of abundance changes everything. How does your non-profit see the world? How do you see the world?
Joe Garecht is the creator of The Fundraising Authority, a free source of fundraising advice and tutorials for non-profits of all sizes.