Sometimes fundraising is all about how you frame your mind around your day-to-day transactions. This sentiment really hit home today in a post by best selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin, who reminds us about the ephemeral nature of money. It is a great and simple way to think about fundraising events and fundraiser auction items:
Your story about money
Is a story. About money.
Money isn't real. It's a method of exchange, a unit we exchange for something we actually need or value. It has worth because we agree it has worth, because we agree what it can be exchanged for.
But there's something far more powerful going on here.
We don't actually agree, because each person's valuation of money is based on the stories we tell ourselves about it.
Our bank balance is merely a number, bits represented on a screen, but it's also a signal and symptom. We tell ourselves a story about how we got that money, what it says about us, what we're going to do with it and how other people judge us. We tell ourselves a story about how that might grow, and more vividly, how that money might disappear or shrink or be taken away.
And those stories, those very powerful unstated stories, impact the narrative of just about everything else we do.
So yes, there's money. But before there's money, there's a story. It turns out that once you change the story, the money changes too.
This post is great because it makes you think twice about your relationship with your donors, their money and what it means to be a fundraising professional.
Fundraising is a tough job. In many ways it is about raising money. But why? What is the bigger story here? Are you chasing a cause, or is it something bigger?
The narrative you choose is entirely up to you.