A lot of people bring to the table an assumption that money’s a scary thing.  There’s actually fear on both sides of the table when someone comes in and asks for money.  So you as someone who’s asking is afraid the other person is going to say no, or you’re not going to get your entity funded, or they’re just embarrassed by asking for a favor. 

On the other side of the table the donor is afraid.  The donor is afraid that you’re just going to use them for their money.  You don’t really want to talk to them.  They’re just a checkbook.  The donor is afraid they’re going to make a poor decision: "I’ll give money to this entity and my friends will ridicule me or I’ll just feel like it’s a poor use of capital."  And so thinking that you’re both afraid puts you on the same level. 

Money is just one of the resources that you have available to you like gas that goes in the car. It’s not the car itself.  The car is the equivalent of the cause - the bigger ideas.  And so money is just one of those things that’s around but it’s said when we’re growing up – all of a sudden it becomes one of the reasons for being.  I have to make more.  I’m making less, I need to change what I’m doing. 

Fundraising teams are given the objectives of so much money and so many calls.  Well, go to the relationships instead.  We have found if you stop dropping the balls between these artificial constructs of donors and doers, all of a sudden capital comes.  All of a sudden people start opening their networks up and saying "I believe in this.  I’m passionate about this so I’ll help you connect to others who might be passionate."  And, "Gee, I need to access three other groups to work in partnership with them.  Gee I need some knowledge about marketing.  Gee I need some help about coming in and figuring out how to operate and how to do a food center and make it efficient and make it work well.  And I need money.  And so let’s all join together and list out all the things that we need to accomplish our goals and figure out how to bring them together."

Money just becomes one aspect of the larger question. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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