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  • Writer's pictureJane

What is 'Money Mindset' and what does it have to do with Fundraising?

I've recently been focusing on my personal money beliefs. How money shows up in my life, how I treat it, why I have the money I do, why I don't have more, why for a long time I took it as gospel that people with a lot of money were greedy and not my kind of people.

And on digging a bit below the surface it became apparent that as well as holding on to some of these beliefs about money since childhood (40 years ago), I also picked up a bunch of really unhealthy beliefs working in the charity sector for 20 years.

So what is a 'money mindset'? My definition is its what your mind is set on about money. Your beliefs, your attitudes, your unique thoughts (whether positive or negative) about money. You may have never thought about your relationship with money but you have one. Money is this incredible tool, a resource that impacts us every single day. Several times a day depending on your circumstances or profession. We interact with it in different ways.

Some may feel it is limited and scarce. Some may feel it is everywhere and free flowing and easy. And some may shift between the two at various times of life.

If you're reading this and thinking 'urgh I can't stand talking about money, it feels icky and impolite and greedy. Nothing good comes from money, it's the root of all evil' you're not alone.

If you're reading this and thinking 'there is never enough money, how on earth can you say its free flowing and easy, it's hard and illusive and a big mystery' you're not alone.

If you're reading this and thinking 'why even talk about money, it just is, it shows up and I've always been fine' you're not alone.

All these beliefs and thoughts are valid but they don't have to be the truth for you.

And the good news is your mindset isn't fixed. It might be stuck on a particular belief but it isn't a permanent fixture. It can be changed. Because otherwise we would never change our minds about anything and we know that isn't the case.

And what does money mindset have to do with fundraising and working in charity?

The answer is it has everything to do with it.

From feeling confident and comfortable to talk to current and potential supporters about donating and the impact their money will make

To feeling personally worthy of investment in order to further your career and the work of your organisation. Which lets face it is a big one because a lot of organisations don't/can't invest in staff development which can keep you stuck & unhappy & like you're making little difference

To feeling worthy of earning more, which if not addressed could lead you to leave the sector creating more capacity and resourcing issues in roles that are hard to recruit for

To how you feel about wealth and rich people, which can perpetuate the 'them vs us' narrative

To the amount of energy & time spent worrying and focused on scarcity and limitations and lack... time and energy that could be redirected to growth, possibility, innovation, real sustainable sector wide change that will build a world that works for everyone in our lifetimes.

And as for the charity sector wide money mindset, well, regardless of your personal money beliefs the mindset bestowed upon the charity sector is that it would be utterly wasteful to spend money on anything that doesn't go direct to the cause. When that happens to any scale, the press start to pile in, supporters cancel their regular gifts, the mistrust in the sector grows.

When I worked in-house as a fundraiser the practice of raising more with less was worn as a badge of pride. Income expectations went up year after year whilst expenditure budgets went down. Charities were often pitted against one another, sometimes implicitly but also sometimes very explicitly in pitches and presentations for funding. Because the sector mindset was that there was only a small pot of income that we were all competing for, collaboration and sharing of insights and information was the exception not the rule. And that didn’t just happen between charities, it happened internally too. “If I get that supporter in, the money should sit in my budget line”… and worse… “I’m not going to give you that supporters details because then they’ll do something for your income stream not mine”. This scarcity mindset fueled a lot of the backward thinking and the extremely slow progress that was (is) made.

I'd love to think that things have moved on and I know some organisations have made great leaps forward, but it's the exception not the rule.

There’s a lot of shame attached to wealth in the charity sector which isn’t extended to other sectors. If you've worked for years in the finance sector and climbed the corporate ladder, it's likely you're a minimum of 6 figures, but if you’re doing an equivalent job, working on similar size budget and generating similar amounts of business in a charity, it is expected you get paid way less. Even though you might be working on a cure for breast cancer or creating a fairer world. (If you haven't already, you really must watch Dan Pallotta’s 2013 Ted Talk: The way we think about charity is dead wrong.

"It's time to re-think charity. It's time to give charity the big-league freedoms we really give to business. The fight for these freedoms must be our new cause, because without them, all of our causes are ultimately lost." Dan Pallotta

Charities don't exist in a vacuum. They're part of a much wider, bigger, wealthier world and yet they aren't allowed to operate with the same resources or regulations. Their hands are tied. And will remain so for as long as we're not talking about money more openly, more candidly, and more positively. And it all starts with humans like you!

If you'd like to join a Money Movement to start addressing your personal beliefs, so you can be truly supported by money and change your mind on money forever; the Money Mindset Mastermind is enrolling now. Head here for all the details and to sign up.

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