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Vulnerability: one of THE biggest missing elements of fundraising training and support in the sector. PART TWO

In my last article I mentioned two things that must change in the nonprofit sector to support us and detailed the first one:

  • Training for fundraisers on how and why vulnerability shows up in our work. 
  • Understanding the nonprofit stigma that creates the shame side cycle that exists when inviting people to give to our organizations. 

Now let’s get into the second one, this is about THEM.

Almost every single fundraiser has experienced a donor being really mean to them. Maybe this came in the form of trying to shame them for asking.

Every fundraiser I’ve ever met has received an email back from an ask, criticizing something that they did or said, the way that they asked, or how many emails they’re sending. 

All of those things are intended to make you feel embarrassed or ashamed. But people are sending these emails because of their own beliefs about money. 

It has absolutely nothing to do with you, they are projecting their own beliefs about money, value, and their own self-worth right onto you. 

This is more than mindset… this gets into deep belief and thought work. And with anything like this, the very first way to get rid of it to start to address it is:

  1. To have awareness 
  2. To talk about it

We know that from people like Brene Brown starting conversations about vulnerability and shame is that getting them out in the open is one of the first steps and critical ways of releasing shame. 

And yet I find that the shame associated with fundraising or stigma in the nonprofit sector is actually one of the least talked about topics out there. This is what we need to change.

So here it is, the conversation has officially started. 

STOP carrying the weight of other’s money thoughts and self-worth burdens. A ‘no’ to a donation is not a no to you or a reflection of who you are. 

Your work to move money into the nonprofit sector, towards a cause that is so critical, is heroic work. You should be SO proud of what you do. And just because people don’t know how to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty and defensive, has nothing to do with you. 

You keep being that fearless fundraiser, that money mover. The world needs you now more than ever.

And share your stories with me, so we can all shed light on this together. As I already mentioned, one of the immediate antidotes to shame is to start talking. Let this blog be a safe place to start. Comment below and share one of your cringe-worthy fundraising stories. Don’t worry, we’ve ALL been there. But just letting it out into the open is going to stop the spiral in your head.


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