Fundraising. What is your first reaction to that word? Existential dread, anxiety, a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? If so, you are certainly not alone. The majority of people get very uncomfortable with even the possibility that they may be asked to assist with fundraising. Some people may be willing to perform background tasks but would run for the hills if they were expected to actually ask for money. While this reaction is understandable in American culture, fundraising is a completely vital aspect of operations for all nonprofit organizations regardless of size. Consequently, anyone who is working with a nonprofit and is invested in seeing it succeed will need to overcome their aversion to fundraising. The purpose of this article is to help the reader start to set aside their gut reactions, change their relationship with the term “fundraising”, and be empowered to engage in fundraising activities (even direct asks!) without angst.
That may sound too good to be true, and certainly a single article isn’t sufficient to fully accomplish all of that. However, from my own experience I can tell you that just a few key realizations can greatly increase your tolerance for engaging in fundraising. While a lot of practice may be required before you are truly comfortable with it, I hope that the ideas I introduce here will at least allow you to be willing to engage in that practice so you can reach the point of being truly comfortable, and maybe even enthusiastic.