Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Forget everything you think you know about fundraising

Who, in their right mind, volunteers for a major fundraising effort in the midst of the most dismal economic climate of the past 100 years, when job uncertainties are mounting, stocks are tanking, and the perception of relative wealth is dissipating rapidly? I often ask myself this very question.

And if you are like me, raising funds for worthy causes can be difficult enough, even in good economic times. Why should that be? Is it the asking for help? Is it the wondering if I’m a sufficiently convincing spokesperson for the cause? Or perhaps it is the waiting while potential donors exercise their rights to choose – this charity over that one, this amount or that, now or later?

But the more I learn, the more I realize that there may be no better time for a challenge like this. A
recent article in the blogosphere really helped put it all into perspective:
Too many of us have forgotten that the ancient practice of giving and receiving of gifts has the power to transform the lives of individuals, institutions and communities, and even connect us to what is divine in the world

The author goes on to suggest that inspired fundraising for worthy charities can:
  • Help those in need to break free of the cycle of poverty, violence and oppression they might face, reminding them there are those who still care.
  • Help donors express personal values, developing a sense of abundance and generosity by learning they have enough to share.
  • Reduce isolation in communities by connecting people who share common values, providing them opportunities to organize for social change.
  • Create sustainable financial support for organizations that have strong community need, yet often little or no perceived for-profit market value.
  • Through opening hearts to the cycle of giving and receiving, connect people to something larger than themselves, which is the core of every spiritual tradition.
Interesting. Fundraising as the act of giving people the opportunity to put personal values into practice. In one fell swoop, many of the hardest aspects of fundraising for me are dispatched cleanly and efficiently.

In the coming weeks, I’ll add posts about the four charities that will benefit from Enduro Africa 2009, including UNICEF, Sentebale, TouchAfrica, and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. And I’ll write more about the personal challenges of fundraising as I make progress toward my goals.

Please, stay tuned. The adventure continues.


Elizabeth said...

Don't give up! Mischa, Katy, Adie and I are completely behind you! And once Mischa, Katy, and Adie save up enough kibble, I am sure they will support you physically, and not just in spirit.

Andrew said...

Thanks for the encouragement. No risk of me giving up -- I'm just appreciating the challenges AND opportunities of fundraising in tough economic times. The response has been amazing so far. It's been really exciting.