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Musical Chairs

Somewhere in the deep recesses of our memories is the recollection of an event, which has, somehow, tainted our view of the world and its connectivity. That event probably occurred during our adolescence—thank God I don’t have to repeat it. I’ll call the event “musical chairs.

We’ve all been there. It’s a social event where we’re not at all sure of ourselves or how we “fit in.” Suddenly, we realize that we are the one being left out. The one not chosen in pick-up ball. The one without a seat at the birthday party. Ugh!

When we go out to raise funds for our charitable passion we often take that bitter memory with us—even subconsciously. Someone is chosen. Someone else is not. There’s never enough.

The world of independent foundation grant making, is a perfect example. There are a finite number of grants made each year that number being artificially determined by some sort of committee or investment formula. Many apply but few are chosen. Certainly nothing unique about this fundraising idea.

At yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider the word that is often associated with philanthropists: “generous.” To be generous is to see the world in large, connected terms. To such people, the world is not about how little, but how much. There’s a unique fundraising idea.

Despite the fact that philanthropy has repeatedly been shown to be elastic—that is the more engaged the donors the more resources that are available, so many well-meaning nonprofits approach their fundraising totally in the grant-awarding mode. To them it’s about scarcity not abundance.

True there are only so many independent foundations and only so many grants. The good news is, that resource accounts for less than 10% of all philanthropy. Hmmm.

Principle 4 of The Eight Principles™ is Learn & Plan. Learn who would support you by virtue of their values and vision and then plan how to connect with them. Foundation grant-making is a good thing. It’s not the only thing, however.

There are so many philanthropists waiting to connect with your charitable passion when you realize it’s not about being “chosen” it’s about inviting.

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