It’s time to overcome your fear of fundraising in the pandemic era

Many people fear asking for money.  For the past 18 years, I have introduced myself as a professional fundraiser, and I’m usually met with something like “Oh my, how could you ask for money?” or “That must be so hard!”

I do my best to change their minds. Fundraising isn’t about asking for money, it’s about giving someone the opportunity to make a difference in his or her community. Changing how people feel about fundraising is now more important than ever. My heart breaks over what I have seen in the last year and a half and how the non-profit industry has suffered in relative silence.

Every non-profit contributes to the health and well-being of our communities and those that live within them. I can’t help but think about the meal that is not served and the person that will go hungry, the researcher that is not funded who may have found a breakthrough, and the place that no longer has an open door to offer a safe haven.

At times it can all feel so overwhelming, and many of us do not even know where to start. I am asked a lot about this and have a few suggestions.

If you are able to, please continue to support your charities of choice. Touch base with them if you can and see how they are doing. Many people think that there is no point in making a smaller donation, but every dollar counts and each one matters, trust me.

Offer your services as a volunteer in any capacity possible. Volunteers are truly the backbone of these organizations and every position is vital, from stuffing envelopes to serving on a committee or creating social media content.

Fundraise on behalf of your organization. There are so many ways to raise money to support your charities of choice, and they can be a fun and engaging way to create a sense of community and bring important awareness to your cause. The sky is the limit on your creativity for these fundraising events, and it is important to choose something that makes sense for you. Are you a marathon runner, garage sale expert or maybe more of the private dinner type? 

Raising money can give us hope when we feel powerless, it rallies our communities, and truly brings out the best in people. It is a wonderful opportunity that we are given, and at the end of the day we can look in the mirror and know that we made the world just a little bit better. •

Rowena Veylan (rowena@nsof.ca) is the founder and lead instructor of the New School of Fundraising and has been working within the non-profit industry since 2003.