I just returned from training NGO leaders in Lebanon. Prior to the training, I spent time studying Lebanese philanthropy and interviewing people who'd registered. Fundraising is clearly getting harder. I kept hearing the two reasons it was particularly hard in Lebanon were
- The government in Lebanon doesn't cover most things other governments cover.
- The economy is getting worse.
These two realities were like Kryptonite to Lebanese fundraisers, sucking their enthusiasm and strength.
Reframing can Renergize
You should've seen the surprise in the room when I said that Lebanese had two things going for them that we didn't have in North America. What were those two things? A government that wasn't covering basic needs and a weakening economy.
- The government situation: Since everyone already knew that basic support wasn't happening, NGOs didn't need to make this argument. They were already starting their fundraising with common agreement on the need.
- The economic situation: Like the government, everyone already knows things are getting tougher. Even more, experience in North America after the economy crashed in 2008 shows that NGOs the invested in fundraising during the downturn actually recovered far more quickly than those that didn't. Finally, down economies help us realize what isn't working. So we can test and tweak until we find out what works with our supporters.
That's right. I was saying that very things that were seen as huge impediments from successful fundraising were actually huge advantages!
A third bonus that the Lebanese had was a long history of Lebanese supporting each other. So combined together, this was likely one of the best times for Lebanese NGOs! The common knowledge of the need, the evidence of the benefit of investing in tough times, the acute need to change methods, and the history of steadfast caring for each other could well be a perfect blend of increased revenue.
What beliefs are your Kryptonite?
So much of fundraising is about attitude and belief. What we believe can transform our work with life or cripple us.
What negative beliefs are currently impacting yours? How might you reframe them to be positives?
Tell us in the comments!