A Fundraiser of Color in a Movement of Green

We preach that fundraisers shouldn’t panic; that people are still giving, even in these tough times. But I find it hard to raise money from people (mainly people of color) in this  economic environment.  It feels awkward to fundraise or encourage giving when communities are facing high levels of unemployment, loss of wealth (401k’s) and threats to keeping their homes.

What may be even more awkward for some fundraisers of color is the thought of trying to raise money in a financial environment that may mirror their own day-to-day struggles.

I can relate to that.  When I first came to this work there were days when I had to meet with donors whose annual giving potential was more than my annual salary.  It was hard to focus on asking for a gift from them when I knew I had a past due utility bill waiting on me when I returned home.

You know what I did to stay focused? I thought about my mama: She worked two jobs, raised six children, and purchased her one and only home on less than half my annual salary. If she could give so much of herself during hard times, my donors could give a little of themselves during good times…and so could I.

Even in a halfway decent economy, asking for a gift when you yourself may be dealing with a personal financial crisis can be stressful.  I hope organizational leaders are being sensitive to the personal financial struggles of their grassroots staff, now more than ever.

Are you struggling to pay the bills as you’re trying to raise more money for your organization?

If yes, what are you doing about it? How are you dealing with the stress?

– Pam Pompey

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