Changing the dance

Fundraising is a dance between scarcity and abundance, in terms of the bottom line and the inner experience. Our organizations are working to change patterns of injustice that seem impossible to fix in our lifetimes; it’s not surprising that a wide range of reactions can and do affect our work. Unwittingly, we internalize capitalism’s shadow – the pecking order, the shrinking pie, the bootstrap.

It’s no mean feat to create a different foundation for raising funds in an atmosphere of economic collapse on top of a severely limited system.  But it is possible:

First it’s important (even revolutionary) to understand how anxiety robs us of our energy and our best thinking.  We act up or lash out or just beat up on ourselves.  We confuse activity with accomplishment.  And we forget that what’s most important is the attitude and invitation we are projecting out to the world.  Obvious perhaps, but I know that the more spacious and positive I feel about my ability to raise our budget, the easier it is to make the next call, engage the board, polish the proposal or think creatively.

Sustainability has got to be part of the work plan. If we cultivate the source of our strength, it will continue to serve us.

Start small.  Sit down for five minutes today, close your eyes, and inhale, filling up the belly.  Exhale.  Form an intention for the day.  Inhale and expand into its possibility.  Exhale and release what’s not useful.  Inhale.  Exhale.  And be grateful for it all.

3 Comments to Changing the dance

  1. June 4, 2010 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this intelligent post. Also I’ve found that progressive activists try to blow off steam by blaming other people for problems, or even the need to fundraise itself. It’s a good discipline to take a deep breath like you suggest, and remind oneself of all we have to be grateful for. One thing I’m grateful for is the privilege of working for something I believe in. Thanks for your reminder to connect to that wellspring.

  2. Claudia Horwitz's Gravatar Claudia Horwitz
    June 4, 2010 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks Judith – I agree about the ease of blaming one another for our problems. This is certainly a pattern mirrored in the larger world. I think we need more tools to work with the inevitable frustration and grief that can come with the work. I’m glad you found the post useful!

  3. Beth Raps's Gravatar Beth Raps
    June 4, 2010 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Wow. Powerful post from a powerful organizer and fundraiser. Thanks, Claudia! I’m proud to be a supporter of Stone Circles which you founded.

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