Saturday, January 15, 2011

Raising Money

I, like many, hate raising money.  I can remember feeling badly asking my grandparents to buy girl scout cookies from me.  I mean - come on!, grandparents are a shoe in.  And the stories of undue guilt like this have only continued as my life has lead me to work that inevitably involves raising financial support: non-profit, church work, entrepreneurial endeavors, etc.

Like I said, some of this is "undue" due to some insecurities that needed (need?) to be worked on.  Granted; duly noted.  Some of this is rooted in my upbringing in a family full of ministers and missionaries that have had specific ideas about how money should be raised for ministry endeavors.  Some of this, though, still remains as viable doubt that guides me as I search for confidence in money raising ventures I find myself in.

Here are just a few pieces of "this":  The love of money (and ease) is common to all humans; myself especially.  I need to check myself.   My friend pointed out many years ago that some people pay full price for "service vacations" to do some humanitarian work cross-culturally.  As far as I know, they don't get a tax-break on this.  I realize there is more to donor involvement besides paying the bills, (ie - building an involved community and donors that simply want to give to good causes), but it does serve as a double-check for my own sacrifice and financial commitment to projects I am involved in.

Also, non-profits and ministries alike have to constantly balance overhead, lifestyle, and stewardship.  And motives are messy.  This will always be an issue, regardless of the project, and will hinge upon the personal integrity of those involved.  This deserves special attention, but also is difficult and terribly problematic to judge.   So I try to keep it simple and pray:  is this where I am to invest my time and energy?  If the answer is yes, and these issues of integrity seem balanced, then my confidence gains steam.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Thanks for your reflections Lizzy. This is a challenging issue, especially in western cultures that value consumer spending so highly. I don't usually struggle to do fund-raising, although the past year has been a bear for sure.
    I guess for me the issue that you mentioned of balancing overhead, lifestyle, ad stewardship is most difficult for me. Is my lifestyle "over the top"? I know a lot of other missionaries who live a whole lot higher lifestyle than many middle class folks. Not sure where to put that!
    Well, I'll see you later today at the fund-raiser!!! Ha ha. god has a sense of humor!

  2. Brian! Ha! You are right - saw you at the fundraiser. :) Ya - that is what I mean about the lifestyle component being "problematic and hard to judge." I mean, there are so many possibilities with financial streams, who's buying what for whom, cultural norms, daily choices, etc. Bluh. Challenging.