When fundraising, I sometimes get so focused on my performance (how much money I raised) that I lose sight on the why. For example, each month, when I review the total I have raised, two reactions either happen. If I am over my target, I am delighted. If I am below my target, I become a nervous wreck.
Watch my short video for a brief overview of this blog post
This rollercoaster of emotions happens when I forget about the long term focus and purpose of my work. Yes, hitting targets is important, but when I forget the ‘why,’ I quickly get sidetracked. I get tied into the results, and whether I can relax or not. I should instead keep my attention assessing what I did well and not well, and then move forward.
Fundraising isn’t a race. It’s not about a good or great month. It’s not about a great campaign, either. It’s about the constant, slow, consistent efforts you put in, day by day, to share with people the why of your charity. Why you do your work. Why you help people. Why follow Christ.
This bigger meaning drives me forward to reach my results. When I maintain this level of execution, I am always more consistent and achieve greater success with my long-term fundraising goals. I hit targets much more regularly and with less stress.
How do I maintain this focus on the why? As a Catholic, I do this by reflecting on the mysteries of the Holy Trinity. Yes, by maintaining focus on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, I fundraise with much more consistency and success.
Here are three reflections on the Holy Trinity that have helped me maintain a successful mindset and work ethic in my fundraising.
Lesson 1 – Take the Trinity as your barometer
As a fundraiser, your goal is to find donors. Do you find it challenging to be on the receiving end of people’s generosity?
I know that I do, but I have learned that reflecting on the Trinity helps me measure this feeling of disparity and recalibrate it.
How? Jesus taught us how to receive the Father’s love. This gift was given to us for free. Then, Jesus taught us to give this love to others. This action is how you calibrate those feelings.
And you give.
You give to your donors. To your beneficiaries. To your contributors. To your volunteers. To everyone around you. You give x1,000. As Saint Augustine said, “The measure of love is to love without measure.”
Jesus is the Beloved. He is loved by the God, the Father. The Holy Spirit is the love that flows between the Father and the Son. However, as all are God, but not the same, the are all the source. Meaning, the Father doesn’t receive back what He first gave to the Son. The Trinity always was, is, and will be. It’s perpetual, never-ending, and overflowing giving.
And that’s what we are supposed to do, especially in fundraising before and after we receive gifts. We have to replicate the Holy Trinity’s giving.
I recommend reading the tracts of Saint Augustine, which you can find on NewAdvent.org. Augustine offers a beautify explanation of how to incorporate the Trinity into our lives.
This perspective on fundraising provides me a unique framework which is hugely successful in the Catholic sector. Why? Because Catholics understand the Trinity. They understand giving.
I focus on this constant and continuous flow of generosity. Each day, I reflect on how I can give and receive more with my board, colleagues, donors, volunteers, and prospects.
I highly recommend you read this article on the 7 ways to increase donors without spending money.
Also, you will learn how to take this idea to the next level with The Generosity Factor: How giving is the fastest way to donors.
Lesson 2 – Instigate, don’t wait
I have learned that I should not wait for others to reach out and connect with me. Rather, I should instigate the initial point of contact. Even if I am scared to do so, I take that leap and contact people. I call them. I meet with them. I reach out to them.
I am reminded of Saint Paul’s words, explaining that Jesus died for us when we didn’t even love him. (Romans 5:8). Jesus did not need us, yet he made that first, great move for us. The greatest gift a friend has to offer. (John 15:13). If God had waited for us to get our acts together, I’m not sure anything would ever happen.
This is how the Holy Trinity functions. It doesn’t wait on others to give. It doesn’t wait on others to receives. By God’s nature, this is what the 3 in 1 does, over and over again.
Saint Mother Teresa said, “I have found the paradox: if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Therefore, I recommend that you do not wait for others to contact you about your work or to make a donation. I recommend you make of 20 people whom you’ve been waiting to connect with or have hoped would contact you. Find their contact details and reach out to them today.
You will find my article on Dream Lists helpful in completing this task. When I made my dream list, I saw immediate results.
Learn the fastest way to move your fundraising forward with Dream Lists: A Catholic Way to Specialize in Fundraising
Lesson 3 – Reflect on how your charity is perceived
Reflection and awareness are two of the greatest gifts we have from God.
I turn to Saint Augustine again and his profound discourse in exploring this phenomenon of self-knowledge. Augustine explains this concept by viewing a person through the lens of the Trinity. A unitary person functions in three ways: the knower, the known, and the knowledge.
You can read more about this on NewAdvent.org: Saint Augustine Tract 15, Book 6.
At times, when I am completely focused on my fundraising, I think that I know what I am doing. I also think that I know other people know what I am doing: raising funds for a great cause.
However, only when I take the time to reflect that I learn what is working to attract people’s attention, increase my donors, and raise more funds.
I used to think that certain events would not produce donations; however, it was after reflection that I learned otherwise. And, I used to think that I had to spend lots of money to attract people to events; however, again, this theory was proved incorrect after reflection.
I recommend you do the same. Take the time to reflect what worked and didn’t work this past month. Who donated, and why did those people donate?
I also recommend frequently sending surveys to your donors, followers, volunteers, and anyone else connected with you to ask this important question: How well am I serving you?
This action is particularly important when you find yourself in a slump in fundraising.
Ask yourself, ‘What do I forget to give to my network of donors, volunteers, and contacts?’ I am not saying you must give material gifts to others. Sometimes the perfect gift is a handwritten card or phone call.
For more information on this topic, I recommend you read my article on how to build a fundraising plan to guarantee results.
You may think that fundraising is about raising money, but, in the long term, your success in fundraising is dependent on how well you connect with those around you. That is why reflecting on the Holy Trinity helps keep you focused on the bigger picture.
When you find yourself at a crossroads, unsure of what to do next, take a step back and consider how God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit interact with one another. It’s by renewing your understanding of how they give and receive between one another that you will find your next step forward.
Also, a practical way to keep the momentum of your fundraising going is by making a list of 20 people to contact and say, “Thought I should say hello and ask if there is anything I can do for you. When would you like to chat? I’d love to hear from you.”
I recommend doing this each week, and, if you keep this habit, you will see, day by day, more success in your fundraising.
Question (Leave your comments and questions below): What has the Trinity taught you about relationships, giving, and receiving?
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