Mindset matters in fundraising? Are you sure?! Yes…I’m positive.

May 22, 2017

When you think about fundraising, how often do you consider mindset and its importance in the fundraising that you’re doing?

Ah, mindset. It’s a word that’s been gaining traction in the fundraising community, and experts everywhere have weighed in on what it means, as well as what its role in fundraising looks like. Mindset has been underestimated for far too long, whether left out of the equation entirely or treated as an afterthought.

I was recently very lucky to connect with fundraising superstar, Jenny Mitchell, over a MoMon session last month. She launched her nonprofit consulting business, Chavender, after years of musical education and training, which culminated in a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance. Jenny has infused Chavender with a unique brand of creativity all her own and, as a result, it is an authentic extension of who she is. Such bright-minded creativity, oft-neglected within the nonprofit world, is unmistakable here. Chavender is inspired by not only Jenny’s musical education but by her innate passion. Since Chavender’s launch nearly nine years ago, she’s created invaluable connections with nonprofit professionals who are passionate about what they do, too.

So who better to discuss mindset and its place within the nonprofit workplace and fundraising than Jenny? She stepped up to the call of duty with poise, grace, and the wonderful wisdom she’s gained from her range of experiences, and audiences who tuned in were hooked from the get-go.

Here are some words of wisdom worth remembering in this dynamic, chaotic world where targets, goals, and numbers actually matter less than you think!

  1. Believing things are possible is the foundation of your positive mindset, in fundraising and out in the world. Possibility, and a sincere belief in it, is a powerful thing. We can achieve a positive belief in possibilities by flipping our negative mindsets. When we have the positive mindset that is believing in our own possibilities, we are capable to the best of our abilities. We are in the best position to navigate the fundraising world and its challenges and to inspire positive change. Truly, it all comes back to mindset.
  2. Sure, fundraising knowledge matters, but who we are matters more. Our humanity matters more, and in pursuit of our goals, we sometimes lose our grip on our humanity. We should want to hang onto our humanity and show up as the best versions of ourselves. That means authentic, true, and grounded. We are not only individually responsible for how we choose to show up, but how we respond to what is beyond our control. We can’t control outcomes, but we can control mindset, and that includes how we react to these outcomes.
  3. Taking a scan of where you are at the moment is an incredibly helpful tool for getting where you actually want to be. A traditional 1-10 scale works well for this. Think of a 1 as wanting to stay in bed and watch Netflix, or bake dozens of cookies and brownies. That second thing has been me. Think of 10 as riding high and ready to conquer and take the (fundraising) world by storm. 
  4. Flip your mindset from that of judger, to learner, by asking the kinds of questions that will enable you to transition into a positive mindset, a place where you can get you the positive results that you want. What does it mean to be a judger versus a learner? Again, it’s all about mindset, and your mindset is very apparent in the types of questions you ask when you’re trying to solve problems.

Do you want to ask… What’s wrong?
Or do you want to ask… What works?

Do you want to ask… Who’s to blame?
Or do you want to ask… What’s my part in this?

Do you want to ask… How can I prove I’m right?
Or do you want to ask… What are the facts?

Do you want to ask… How can I be in control?
Or do you want to ask… What are my choices?

Do you want to ask… Why bother?
Or do you want to ask… How can we make a change?

You get the picture. Observe when you go into judger mode. When you pick up on it, flip your question into positive mindset mode. Rather than hanging onto blame, latch onto responsibility instead. It’ll get you out of workplace despair more than you know, it’ll galvanize your fundraiser mindset, and it’ll enable you to foster strong, authentic relationships.

If you’re in a place where “work is a slug,” you’ve got the tools to change that, right there in your pocket. You and I both have what it takes to leave despair behind, whether it’s been lasting one day or many months. And, believe it or not, what you have has been with you all along. Possibility.

Special thanks to Jenny for inspiring us all to reach our own unique possibilities.


2017-04-12 13.02 Simple Development Systems | Mindset Matters from Pamela Grow on Vimeo.

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