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7 Limiting Beliefs in Fundraising You Need to Remove Today So You Can Raise More

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How you think and feel about money is called your money mindset, and it directly impacts how much money you will have and how much money you will raise. 

You, your board or staff may have beliefs about money so ingrained in you, you don’t realize what they are. These stories are thoughts that drive your approach to fundraising, the decisions you make around it, the energy of your ask and most importantly…the outcomes you achieve.

Here are seven typical limiting beliefs around money you may recognize, so you can start reframing your thinking and raise more money with ease and abundance. 

1. It takes money to raise money

You might think that you need money to raise money, and you don’t have money, so you can’t raise it. What finished product starts and ends with itself? You don’t need cake to make cake or shoes to make shoes. You don’t need money to raise it. 

Change your mindset: You need the right mix of strategies to achieve your fundraising goals. That includes building relationships over time, staying consistent in your efforts, focusing on opportunity, and faith that if you keep working in the direction of your goals, they will happen. 

2. Money is the root of all evil

If you always associate money with evil, then it becomes really hard to raise it. The mindset that you want the money and also resent having to want the money creates a tension that can affect who you ask for money, how often and for how much. 

Change your mindset: The actual biblical quote is the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Like any tool, it can be used in positive and meaningful ways. Embrace the belief that is a positive resource that gets our most important work done. 

3. There’s only so much money for fundraising

This is what I call the BIG LIE of philanthropy. You might have been taught that there is only so much money that people will give, and you better get your share. This has caused harm in the sector. It pits your organization against others in what you believe is a limited pie, and you need to wrestle each crumb from each slice. Because of this, you operate in fear and isolation. When you tell yourself there isn’t any out there, then it is easy to not ask. 

Change your mindset: The truth is, there is enough for everyone. There is no magic limit to generosity and philanthropy. When you approach fundraising from abundance, you will raise more money.

4. You can’t raise more money in a crisis

The narrative that fundraising is hard, difficult, uncomfortable and a necessary evil is now even more apparent in a crisis. If you were averse to fundraising before the Age of Corona, it will be even harder now because you don’t want to burden people who (you assume) are already hurting.

Change your mindset: Fundraising is a gift, philanthropy is joy. To be needed, and be able to help, is what gives our lives meaning. Not only are you making your organization stronger, you are helping your donors become better people and be a solution to a problem. Fundraising takes nothing and gives everything. You will want to adjust your messaging to fit the context but don’t stop communicating and fundraising in any circumstance.

5. It is better to give than to receive

You were probably taught this as a child…it is better to give than to receive. And in the nonprofit world full of world-changing givers, receiving can be hard. From a compliment or cup of coffee to a big donor gift, it may be hard to receive because you were taught that receiving is somehow wrong. 

Change your mindset: Your ability to receive all the gifts around you, even the small ones, will directly impact your ability to receive the big ones. When you are comfortable being worthy of receiving gifts, you will receive more and not hesitate to ask again.

6. We don’t know the right people to raise big dollars

“We don’t have the right people on our board to raise money.” Or, “We aren’t connected to big money donors,” are stories to keep you from asking for what you want. If you believe you don’t know the right people, then you don’t. If you believe they are the perfect people to connect you to what you need, then they are. 

Change your mindset: Put your focus into cultivating prosperity with the resources you have, and you will. 

7. Raising money is hard

Raising money can seem hard because money is a trigger, and, combined with the vulnerability of asking for help and the possibility of rejection, can send you into overload. Once you embrace a healthier relationship with money, finding it and raising it becomes easier. If you believe it to be hard, it will be. 

Change your mindset: Change your thinking to, “Fundraising has been hard, up to now.” Or, “Fundraising is easy and joyful,” even if you don’t quite believe it, changing your thoughts will allow you create a better outcome for your fundraising effort. 

Your fundraising success starts with a healthier relationship with money. If you believe there’s no money, or no one will give, or you don’t have anyone to ask, then that is most likely what will happen. Changing your thoughts to serve you better will do more than any program, script, gift table or template. You can’t raise what you resent.

You can master fundraising by shifting your mindset. Tools, scripts and programs don’t work because they don’t address the root cause of fundraising challenges: FEAR.
Your first step to shifting your mindset and making fundraising easy, joyful, abundant and fearless is Fearless Fundraising starter kit. Get it at

How to Write a Fundraising Plan in 2 Steps!

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  • Marjorie Fine

    These are great. I have a whole section on top 10 attitude adjustments on fundraising. St. Paul being misquoted is one of them!
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