Make Fundraising Easier: Ethical AND Peaceful is the Way

Make Fundraising Easier: Ethical AND Peaceful is the Way

peaceful swan swimming

Make fundraising easier: Ethical AND peaceful is the way. This way of fundraising allows you to navigate the flow of funds serenely. Image by Public Domain Pictures.

Make Fundraising Easier: Ethical AND Peaceful is the Way

You can navigate the waters of fundraising as serenely as this swan if you make sure your fundraising is both ethical and peaceful.

Two Ways to Tell if Your Fundraising is Peaceful and Ethical

  1. You love fundraising.
  2. Your fundraising is successful.

Both Ethical and Peaceful are Needed

Both #1 and #2 are needed for easier fundraising. You can have #2, lots of money coming in, and you still won’t have easier fundraising. That’s because you don’t love it. And you don’t love it because it’s not peaceful or ethical. You need both #1 and #2 or you will literally become sick of fundraising–the mere thought will make you want to throw up.

When fundraising makes you nauseous, it’s a sign you are out of integrity with yourself.

Easier fundraising comes from fundraising with integrity.  Fundraising that feels out of integrity is not always unethical. But it is always unpeaceful.

How to Tell if You’re Making Fundraising Easy or Hard on Yourself

If fundraising makes you queasy, it’s either unethical or it feels unethical to you. Those are two different things:

  • Actually unethical fundraising is illegal, manipulative, obnoxious, a violation of your mission, your program, and your highest good.
  • Fundraising that feels unethical but is not any of the above things may feel like one of these:
    • it may feel scary, possibly because talking about money was scary when you were growing up and it’s not much easier now as an adult having to talk about money–with strangers!
    • it may embarrass you because deep down, you feel that talking about money is just plain rude and that money matters are private.
    • it may anger you to have to fundraise, because people should just know they need to give without being asked.

Make fundraising easier by finding a way you can do that is ethical and peaceful.

Figuring Out Your Easier Fundraising

Making sure your fundraising is ethical is simple because it’s fact-based. It’s either legal or it’s not. You can research or ask a lawyer or nonprofit mentor (or me) and find out. It’s either manipulative or it’s not. Again, you can ask your donors, your staff, your heart, a mentor, or me, and you will get the answer.

Making sure your fundraising is peaceful can be harder because you have to dig inside yourself to figure out what’s bugging you about doing it: is it scary? is it embarrassing? are you angry you have to do it?

If you want us to write more about what bugs YOU about fundraising, please comment to this post. We’d love to take our cue from you in helping you have easier fundraising.

8 Comments
  • Pingback:Is Fundraising Scary? - RAISING CLARITY
    Posted at 11:15h, 04 May Reply

    […] Your fundraising may be ethical, yet still not feel peaceful. There can be several reasons for this, as we noted in this post. One of them is fear. […]

  • Pingback:The Secret to Fundraising is One You Already Know - RAISING CLARITY
    Posted at 11:20h, 20 April Reply

    […] based on trust if you are pretending to be a stereotype. It’s also very hard to be peaceful and ethical in your fundraising if you are indulging in this […]

  • Danielle Capillo
    Posted at 02:11h, 14 April Reply

    I will be studying Public Health at Eastern Kentucky University. My interest lies in getting more healthy food to more people that is produced locally. I am primarily interested in either community gardening and education and/or cafeteria food preparation for a school with local, whole food. And being creative with the menu, engaging the students in what they like and how we can shift the lunch program to something really good and really fun.
    I think you are right that I am more comfortable with money than most I encounter. And that can lead me to be more irreverent with other peoples difficulty with money. Also I am either really good or not good at all with first impressions. I am learning that people either really like my honest, open nature or it really scares them and they don’t want anything to do with it. I think the people I asked money from were intimidated by my lack of queasiness and misinterpreted it as arrogance or entitlement.
    I think I can work a lot more on the story of my work and expressing the feeling that I get when I envision it. I can be very dry or matter of fact at times which leaves people outside my vision, rather than feeling a part of it.
    So yes I am feeling very proud right now. But also not quick to make a decision for the next step. I am hopeful I will have some time to figure out the best way to use this fellowship rather than plowing through the classes immediately. I will need some time to transition out of my current job and move into full time student status.
    Also good point that I did have to ask for the fellowship with an application. And that is a funny story too. I took a whole year to plan my application and I asked my sister to help me write it. We did it together and then when the application announcement came out I couldn’t find what we had written anywhere. I didn’t have any piece of it. I almost didn’t apply because I was so distressed about not finding it. So then I just sat down the night it was due and wrote exactly what I felt at that moment. And then I completely let it go. I told my sister last weekend that I was sure they were not going to contact me about the fellowship because it had been 6 weeks and I hadn’t heard. The next time I opened my email it was the first thing in my inbox. And I just was shaking while reading it. Totally caught off guard! It was the most wonderful surprise.

    • Beth
      Posted at 13:32h, 14 April Reply

      D, I so resonate with two stories in your letter–the “arrogance or entitlement” feeling you think others got when you asked them more boldly than most for money…I actually remember getting that feedback from a third party early on in my asking learning days!!! I was so confident it was right to ask that I totally put off someone who was much more used to the old power-structure ways! And I absolutely do NOT regret how I was, and remain very confident, just now softer and like you say, more aware of embracing people within my vision.
      And the shock-surprise-shakes getting a fellowship! I did get one during my PhD that meant everything to me…and in fact, is what allowed me with ease to do dissertation work in Berea, meet Barb, which means I met you thereafter, which takes us to this very moment. So fractal! POWER TO YOU, SISTER!!! Relish your achievement!!!

  • Danielle
    Posted at 03:34h, 11 April Reply

    I really like this post. I am not in business of fundraising presently but always have ideas that I am considering raising funds for. I don’t feel like fundraising is peaceful for me because I am afraid of asking for help. I want to be able to do it by myself… But I can’t so I just have my ideas.

    • Beth
      Posted at 14:14h, 12 April Reply

      Hey, Danielle! Delighted to see you here. WHY are you afraid of asking for help? That sounds like what you’ve identified as what’s keeping you from being peaceful fundraising. I’d love to hear more and maybe blog about it!

      • Danielle Capillo
        Posted at 13:02h, 13 April Reply

        Hi Beth, when I think about asking for help I think about the judgement that someone has to make about my ideas. I am defensive of my ideas. I have also had a few experiences that left a bad taste in my mouth around fundraising.
        Sometimes those with money to give are very prickly about the way in which you ask. And are not willing to give feedback about a better way to ask. Basically I have ran into people who are offering grants or other support but who don’t have a healthy relationship with that money. And as a result feel very protective of their money. For me it’s not even about weather I receive the award or not it is the dishonesty and closed way of communicating about weather they are awarding the project money or not.
        I think it is probably a case of being stopped after just a few tries and needing to continue looking for a positive partnership.
        After those experiences I have stepped back from the world of fundraising and tried to get more clear on what I need to feel confident in my asking. I have for the past 3 years nursed my wounds around feeling rejected for my lack of expertise – real and perceived. During that time I have also had to continue to make money and have slowly come to terms with the value of my contribution to my current job even though it is work that I have had a hard time valuing. Over this period of time I have also tried to fill my time with activities that make me feel more capable in my ask for funds. And to be more clear in what I want money for. Throughout that back and forth the message from my guides has consistently been stay put and rest for a while. So I have continued to clean residence halls in a stable job that I have an excellent skill set for but that I don’t feel affirmed in my desire for growth.

        And in the past few months I have felt the universe affirm me and finally start to give signs for a time of change is coming. I have learned to be so much more patient for the right choice at the right time. The affirmation was a dinner with a mutual friend who has done all the things I hope to do with my energy and passion. And just a few days ago I was awarded a fellowship that will fund my graduate degree program.
        So that is a long answer that doesn’t entirely answer why I don’t like to ask for help but is what I have come to at this time. I think my work continues to be having perspective, accepting that there is still more time, and being patient with my own abilities. Thank you for asking!

        • Beth
          Posted at 01:02h, 14 April Reply

          Danielle! I gasped when I got to the end of your reply where you told us you’d been awarded a fellowship for graduate work! In what? Where? I am so excited for you! This is huge!
          And clearly…you had to ask for the funding! So it is fractal, too.
          I think you did a great job answering the question both factually and in story form. I also think you are light years ahead in your healthy relationship with money of many folks who have a lot more money than you do. Your comfort level with what you have, with asking, with discussing money is probably a lot greater than many of those you’ve asked for funding for.
          What’s hard is when we are uncomfortable (as we usually are at least a little) and the other person is also uncomfortable (often a lot) and we perceive them as having something we want (their money) without seeing we are choosing to invite them to join us in an endeavor as two humans sharing resources–you probably more your work, and them probably more their money, but the two humans part is the main thing that shifts the equation. I don’t know if it’s at all helpful, but I wrote an article on this called, “The Soul of Money Meets the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.” It was originally published in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal, but now they have stopped publishing, so I have it up on my site, here: https://raisingclarity.com/published-articles/Love and CONGRATULATIONS!

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