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What You Think About Impacts Your Fundraising Results

How often do you pause to think about “what you are thinking about?” Especially as it relates to how your thinking impacts your fundraising results?

It’s a deep question.

We’ve been raised, even trained, to think things like: “money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “she’s filthy rich,” or reminded that our parents “aren’t made of money.”



This thinking combined with thoughts of: “I’ve got too much to do,” “our goal is impossible,” or “I’m all alone in this” will create exactly what you don’t want: less money, less energy to raise the money, and a team that isn’t engaged.

At the annual Association of Fundraising Professionals conference on April 30, I had the honor of delivering a session on this topic with my friends: Gail Perry of Fired-Up Fundraising and Marcy Heim, The Artful Asker.

Lori, Gail & Marcy at AFPOften at conferences we are “talked at” or the topic is about board members, staff, or technology. In this session the topic was YOU, as a special human being doing important work.

Gail, Marcy, and I shared ten of our personal practices and tools for noticing what we are thinking and shifting our thoughts to move past pain, frustration, fatigue, or worry.

Take a pause as you read through this list and notice your own thoughts. With a goal of choosing our reactions and appreciating ourselves just as we are, we CAN start to remove barriers to “less than” or “impossible” thinking.

Here are three of the tools we shared:

1. You CAN Change Thoughts

Noticing the upset, frustration, or worry is the first step. On my desk I have an old light switch that I use to physically and mentally choose a different thought.

Switch Your Thinking to have a Positive Impact on Fundraising Results


When I notice my shoulders are getting tense or I have a feeling of dread over something I have to do or I hear myself saying: “this is really hard,” or “I have too much to do,” – I reach for my light switch and flip it. Then I spend just a moment reframing my thoughts.

The pause and awareness really does make a difference. I find I’m better able to shift my thinking using a physical object to remind me.


“This is really hard” becomes:
I’m not sure HOW to do this. I’m going to ask more questions.

“I have too much to do” becomes:
What are the top three things I MUST accomplish today/right now?

2. Words We Use

Here are some of Marcy’s excellent suggestions for reframing our word choices.

The Words You Use Can Impact Fundraising Results


3. Ask the Right Questions & Shed the Victim Words We Use


Do you find yourself asking questions like, “why am I the only one working so hard?” or “why doesn’t the board help with simple fundraising tasks?”

What if asking a different question shifts the outcome?

What if you ask: What’s working right now?

Don’t just ask yourself. Ask your team. Including your board.

Or ask: What would it HONESTLY take to fill the room for our event? Be quiet and listen.

And personally: Rather than asking, “when will I lose that 15 pounds?” What if you ask, “what do I love about myself today?”

Find one thing. And allow your mind to really hear what that one thing is.

Maybe you weren’t late for any meetings. Or you took time for a walk. Or you completed ONE THING on your to do list.

What is a question you might ask yourself to shift your thinking? Leave yours in the comments box below. I’m looking for more good questions.

As I learned many years ago, when we argue for our limitations they become ours. What if the opposite is true as well?

Just because we, or others, tell us it can’t be done, doesn’t mean it’s true. By all rights the hummingbird should not be able to fly.

I believe the same is true for you.



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