The “F” Word & Fundraising


Sat through another meeting where Fundraising was referred to as “the F word” . . . . ha ha ha, giggle giggle, ’cause it’s a bad word.

I failed.

I should have confronted.  I should have taken the opportunity to correct, teach, coach.

I should have stood on the table and shouted with all the joy and fervor I could muster that FUNDRAISING IS NOT A SWEAR WORD!  Fundraising is beautiful and wonderful and hard and painful and specific and terrifying and a JOY.

And if you can’t find the joy and the pleasure in it, then go do something else.

I failed because, bless her heart, she was well-meaning and delightful and has a heart as big as all outdoors.  She’s also a board member, a volunteer, trying to do something good.

But, oh, if your Board refers to fundraising as “the F word” then I worry that you, dear fundraiser, will never succeed.  I worry that people who refer to fundraising as “the F” word – as a grawlix, a profanity that dared not be uttered – see fundraisers as inferior, incompetent and doing some sort of demeaning, horrible – but necessary – work.

It makes your job tougher.

But your mandate is clear.  Your mandate is to bring the joy.  Your job is to show them the honor, the power, the beauty that our profession holds.

The next time someone tells you they hate asking for money (or that fundraising is “the F word”), ask them this:

“Do you hate being asked FOR money?”

“Do you recoil in disgust when someone asks you FOR something?

Because seeing fundraising as something profane is far more about the asker than it is the prospective donor.

Most people like being asked.  It feeds our ego.  It makes us feel needed, wanted, valued.

That’s why the old adage, “Ask for advice, get money.  Ask for money, get advice” is actually true.  We LOVE to give our opinions and advice.  And we like to be needed and valued and wanted.

We like to be asked.

Fundraising is not profane.  It’s not dirty and it’s not embarrassing. And the responsibility for ensuring that it’s not seen that way is on us – the fundraisers.





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