Working in fundraising, I’ve always been a big proponent of redefining the concept of money. As I wrote about in How to Ask for Money Without Being Scared, a good fundraiser must reframe their ideas about money and understand that donating is a way to be involved in a cause, not just giving money away.
I realized recently that this is something I need to work on for myself. I understand the concept, but when it comes to my own money, I am petrified. My car just died and it’s time for me to buy a new one, and I am stressed out beyond belief. Do I get a new car? Used? Toyota? Ford? Focus? Escape? There are so many options, each with different pros and cons… and each with a different financial commitment. I feel so much pressure to make the right decision!
And then I realized… why?
Why do I feel all this pressure? I’m going to make a good choice. Even if it isn’t a perfect one, it will be a very thoughtful choice supported by my family members. I even have my regular car mechanic in my back pocket to look over whatever deals I get. I’ve surrounded myself with smart people. So… what’s the big deal?
For the past few years, I’ve scrutinized my personal spending. I switched car insurance companies. I stopped all TV service. I said no when asked several times about getting a smart phone. I’ve been diligent about keeping my costs down. You know what that means?
I have more money to play with for important investments… like a car!
A car, as I’ve come to realize in letting go of mine, is a precious thing. We gain memories in it. It keeps us safe. And we spend a lot of time with it (at least I do). It’s worth that big investment.
So wish me luck as I search for the right investment for me, and wish me luck in reframing my thoughts about money! Whatever car I end up with, I’ll surely love.
According to Wikipedia (the premier source for information these days), leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” I happen to love this definition. So often when we think of leadership we think of the president, the CEO, the one in charge. But it’s so important to remember that leadership has so many more dimensions than that.
Here are a few reasons I love the Wikipedia definition.
- No mention of being in a position of power. Leadership can happen anywhere you are – whether you’re the receptionist or the director. The key is the way you use your relationships and influence. Even as an entry level staff member you can be a leader. If you respect yourself and those around you, everyone will gravitate toward you. And with grace and poise, if you value everyone’s input as you make your own decisions, and demonstrate that you have sound judgment, you are a leader. Leadership happens outside of the workplace as well – it happens in friendships and with family members. When you take the initiative to do the right thing, you are demonstrating your leadership.
- The end goal is a common task. We often think of leadership on a grand scale – changing policy, mobilizing communities, and affecting change. But leadership doesn’t have to only look like that. It can also be shown in everyday life. It’s simply showing others that it’s easy to do the right thing – that will be enough to affect change. You see leadership when someone gives a stranger their seat on the bus. When someone holds the door open for someone else. It’s these small moments that make up the big picture.
- No mention of money. Again, leadership does not only happen when you have the ear of many (whether that’s because you have money or otherwise). It happens when you are sensitive to others and serve as a role model of how to live. That can happen on Wall Street or at the corner store. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have – you can be a leader.
This concept really helps me as I move through my career. I have not been in management positions in the workforce but I feel I have vast leadership experience, which has come from working with others and listening to what they have to say. Because a good leader does that first – listen.
Money is a funny thing. Our relationship to it is unlike anything else. Money ensures you have food, shelter, clothing – all the basic human essentials. In fact, with the American economy set up the way it is, one could argue you need money to live. But most of us work to get more money than is necessary. Most of us dream of the house with a white picket fence, the nice car, and the fancy dinners. And therefore, in many people’s eyes, money = happiness.
That’s one of the reasons asking for money is so scary. Money is sacred – it represents so much more than the coins jingling in your piggy bank. It represents a comfortable home and piece of mind. But if you change your mindset about what you’re really asking for when you ask for money, it’s easy.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when asking for money.
- Love the cause you’re asking for money for. If you’re passionate about what you’re fundraising for, it will come across when you’re talking to potential donors. Remember to share why you love the cause, what got you involved, and why you care. Instead of trying to convince them to care, showing that you care is the best way to persuade them.
- Be in the business of making people happy. Giving away money to good causes makes people happy (there are several studies that show this is the case). People love the feeling they get when helping others. Instead of thinking of it as asking someone for something, think of it as giving them the opportunity to be happy. You are simply the middle man.
- They are going to give away their money anyway – might as well be to your cause. More than 9 out of 10 Americans donate in a given year – that’s huge. There’s a strong chance the person you’re talking to is going to give to something this year. It might as well be the amazing cause you are working for – you know how amazing it is, so you’ve already vetted the cause and done the research for them! All that’s left is the easy part – donating.
- Don’t be afraid of rejection. The worst possible thing that could happen when you ask someone for money? They say no. Then what? Nothing. You move on, they move on. Don’t take this response personally – when someone says no, it’s no reflection on you, it’s simply not a fit for him/her to give to your cause.
Asking for money does not have to be scary, and if you follow these tips, it will become natural to you. Let go of being scared of rejection, feel confident in your cause, and put on your best smile. You can do it! 🙂