November is one of my favorite months. It’s crisp out, the leaves are changing, and seemingly everywhere, people are gathering. And there’s nothing like planning a Thanksgiving menu with the anticipation of a table surrounded by loved ones, full of bounty, and oozing with gratitude. The entire month takes on a grateful tone.
In a lot of ways, this time of year represents one of the great oxymorons in the fundraising world: the juxtaposition of gratitude and purpose with the relentless, and often competitive, drive to have “more.” In fact, I’ll admit that sometimes I have a problem with the word plenty because it can be used to underscore an unwavering fixation on raising more money, often with a zero sum mentality that is damaging.
As I reflected on this, I ventured into the archives of our blog and found the third best piece of fundraising (and also life) advice that you’ve probably forgotten.
Post #3: What Is Enough?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am more excited than ever about our vision at Plenty for a future where there is plenty for everyone. I believe in this vision, and am thrilled to be working with a team of people and clients who feel the same way. And increasingly, I’ve found that the philanthropic space shares this vision too, but sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle.
The challenge with 'plenty' is that there are two ways to get there: you can accumulate more of something, or you can redefine the point where you reach abundance. And let’s face it — we live in a culture where more is better. It’s the classic choice between quality and quantity, and quantity usually wins. Too often, when we think about plenty, we simply think about aiming for more.
The drive for more is inherently baked into the concept of fundraising. We’re all here to raise more money with the goal of positively impacting the world. In that view, there is only one definition of plenty.
Where there is room to challenge that perspective is how we get there. Part of my vision for plenty is to help redefine what it means to have enough. Do we need to find more donors or build better relationships with our current donors? Do we need more events or more impactful experiences on our existing events? Do we need to convince more people to care? Or do we need to help those that already care, better understand our impact?
As with most things, I don’t believe we’ll reach our vision by choosing one route over another. Approaching problems from more than one angle is what moves us forward, but it also requires us to innovate. Finding new ways to accomplish goals and constantly challenging our perspective is one way I’ll be pushing to create plenty for everyone. What does your path to abundance look like?
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