You are valuable. And so is the work you do. Colin Behrens @Pixabay.com
One of my favorite podcasts is “How I Built This” with Guy Raz. I don’t consider myself to be an entrepreneur in the strict sense – but I love hearing how people with a passion have built businesses from the ground up. That’s probably why I’m also hooked on “Shark Tank.” Entrepreneurs make their pitch to a cast of “sharks” in hopes that their idea will get funded by at least one of the investors. They are not afraid to ask for money.
What do the entrepreneurs on “How I Built This” and “Shark Tank” have in common?
An unashamed belief in what they want to accomplish.
At the recent Executive Certification in Religious Fundraising training in Nashville, I heard several participants say:
1. “I’m embarrassed to ask for money to pay for my salary.”
2. “This program was my idea. I’m self-conscious to ask someone to support it.”
3. “What if people are giving to me? I might leave and what will become of the project?”
These are all valid concerns. They really are. But here’s the problem: you’ve now made funding about yourself and not about your program or ministry.
Let’s unpack those words in your head.
1. Your salary is indeed part of the budget. And guess what? You don’t merely sit around and wait for your monthly check, do you? You’re making sure that your program, your ministry – in fact the thing you (hopefully) feel most passionate about – is getting done. Without you, you unique and gifted person, ministry or programming wouldn’t be happening. The funds you’re requesting cover potentially life-changing opportunities for people. That’s the vision you want to help others see. Need more convincing? Please do yourself a favor and watch Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk, “The Way We Think about Charity is Dead Wrong.”
2. If you’re an entrepreneur, the original idea for a program, project, or ministry may have started with you. However, to see it executed has taken more than a committee of one. You've had to find people who believe in what you're trying to achieve. In fact, what was once only your idea has now caught on and become a vision for a larger group of people. Donors believe in the project, want to see it continue, and – get this – are willing to fund it.
3. People, rightly or wrongly, give to people. They give because they believe in you and trust that you’re going to follow through. Think about the last time you gave to a friend’s “Go Fund Me” request. I like Make-a-Wish just fine, I really do. But when my friend Laila asked me to support her hike on behalf of Make-A-Wish, I was all in because Laila comes with a lot of credibility. And so do you. Whoever follows after you will also need to establish their trustworthiness, but that shouldn’t make you afraid to ask for funding now.
You love what you do. You believe in your mission. You are passionate. All for-profits, non-profits, and ministries have to raise funds that cover salaries…yours included. Don’t let your vision be stifled out of fear or embarrassment.
It’s not about you. It’s about changing the world in amazing ways.
What a great motivator.