In the world of fundraising, perspective is everything. It shapes our approach, our confidence, and ultimately, our success. Today, I want to share with you the five perspective changes I wish I knew before diving into the deep end of fundraising. These insights are backed by data and personal experience, and I believe they can make a profound difference in your journey as a fundraiser.
**1. Perspective on Money: Small vs. Large Asks**
When I started out, asking for $500 felt daunting, but asking for $50,000 seemed nearly impossible. The truth is, it's not the amount that's the issue—it's our perception of it. A recent study showed that donors who give large gifts do so because they believe in the cause and trust the organization, not because they were asked for a specific amount. As fundraisers, understanding our relationship with money is crucial. We must value our cause enough to believe it's worthy of significant investment and overcome the mental barriers associated with larger sums.
**2. Perspective of Self-Worth**
Our own self-image plays a critical role in successful fundraising. You can resonate deeply with your organization's mission, but if you don't believe in your ability to engage with high-net-worth individuals, you've already lost half the battle. Research suggests that fundraisers with higher levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy are more successful in securing donations. While not everyone struggles with this, it's essential to recognize that our view of ourselves can influence the ask.
**3. Perspective on Relationships**
Not every donor will become a close personal friend, and that's perfectly okay. A survey by the Association of Fundraising Professionals found that maintaining professional boundaries is often just as important as building strong relationships. While you might have a great rapport with a donor, you don't need to extend that to personal obligations like regular lunches or dog-sitting. Fostering a professional, respectful relationship is key to long-term fundraising success.
**4. Perspective on Making the Ask**
Asking for money was particularly challenging for me. The emotional weight of tying our self-worth to an ask can be overwhelming. But here's an important takeaway: don't take responses personally. Philanthropy industry reports indicate that receiving a "no" is common, with only a fraction of asks resulting in immediate yeses. Some donors might say "not at this moment," which still leaves the door open for future engagement. Remember, a response other than "yes" shouldn't derail your efforts.
**5. Perspective of the Donor**
Finally, it's crucial to understand that you are not harassing someone when you ask for a donation; you're offering them a chance to make a difference. The framing is vital: it's an opportunity, not an imposition. Many fundraisers become frustrated or overwhelmed because they perceive the donor as doing them a favor. However, studies show that donors often appreciate the opportunity to contribute and make an impact. It's okay if a donor isn't the right fit, but it's not okay to approach them as if you're begging.
Each of these perspectives comes with its own set of challenges, but shifting how we think about them can open doors we never thought possible. Remember, fundraising is as much about personal growth as it is about securing resources for your cause.If you have any questions on how you can shift perspectives when it comes to Fundraising. Sign up for a Free 15 minute Consultation that speaks on what we can provide as a Development Coach!