My friend and colleague Chris Davenport was kind enough email the Monday Movie Network the link to the 4 Lynn Harden Medical Fund…a fund my friends set up to raise money on my behalf due to a catastrophic illness. Chris didn’t tell me he was going to reach out to the Network, so you can imagine my surprise as Monday Movie donors gifted me to support overwhelming medical bills and other expenses. So, on many levels and for many reasons, please know that I am deeply grateful to everyone who has donated so far, and who have sent their wishes for my recovery.
As a fund development and/or a strategy professional like you, it is very tempting to share the crowd funding data with you (it’s difficult to change old habits!): The response rate, percentage of goal attained, the average gift size, the gift range, prospect pool, etc. But I won’t (unless you’re curious enough to email me for it-lol) because I am learning something much more valuable than the numbers; it’s at the heart of what it means to ask and to receive.
Seldom do we ask for support for ourselves. So it is a strange experience to be part of a fundraising effort where I am the beneficiary and have little to do with the strategy and approach other than to give my friends access to my contacts. Talk about giving up (the illusion of) control!
Anyway…your outpouring of generosity has deepened my sense of the spiritual law of reciprocity and the sacred trust of asking and receiving. I’m not referencing religious doctrine here. Rather, I invoke the centeredness and balance of nature and life…an awareness that to receive graciously is as critical as it is to give as generously as we’re able. At least it is what I have always believed. The notion that it is better to give than to receive is an unbalanced principle that distorts the rhythm of life itself. Both principles are necessary to thrive.
So…how might this notion apply to the organizations we serve? I believe the privilege of asking can make us less fearful of rejection…of picking up that telephone…of making that visit when we understand the necessity of the ask in a spiritual sense; it may help us to do more, expect more and reap more. Whether we couch our asks as “investments” or “legacy gifts,” or any number of phrases that we’ve employed over the years to cultivate and move donors from one level to another, for me it is a sacred undertaking I am allowed to be part of and to witness.
My heart is overflowing because of the kindness and generosity of each of you. Because of you, I am motivated to do my best in physical therapy, to eat right in order to get well, to use your gifts wisely in ways that support my well being, and to let you know the important role you play in this process.
The organizations I represent have hearts as well through the people who deliver their missions. How can they not always do their best work? How can they not acknowledge donors in ways that honor donors’ trust and open their hearts even further (cultivation).
I close by saying simply, “Thank you.” Words that can’t fully describe my appreciation, but nonetheless, they humbly recognize the light that shines in each of you that allowed you to recognize my need and to give whatever you could to help sustain me.