Episode 151 | How to Thrive During Unprecedented Times

In the United States alone, we’ve gone through 15 recessions in the last 91 years.  Many people talk about the Great Depression that started in 1929, which played a huge role in the way we live today.  That generation still hides money under their mattresses and in different parts of the house because they couldn’t put their money in the bank.  Many of us look to the most recent recession aka the Great Recession that lasted from 2007-2009 and many fundraisers were impacted during that time.  Factor in 9/11 and all of those events have impacted how we live today.  We’ve clearly been able to thrive during every single of those situations and nothing is different about our current situation with COVID-19 either.

Think about all of the jobs that have been in existence in the last 100 years that are no longer around.  It’s because something new or innovative has come to take its place.  That’s really what I want you to remember.  Just because you’re working in a company or organization that was relevant a couple of months ago, it may not be relevant in the next couple of months.  And that’s why in last week’s episode I encouraged you to go back to your vision; to remind yourself why you exist.  I’ve been doing the same.  I’ve been committed to ending that lack and scarcity mindset.  To be perfectly honest, I’m sick of it!  And this new pandemic has created another excuse for lack and scarcity.  We are great at pointing the finger at all the reasons we aren’t raising the funds we need.  So today, I want to address it.  There are 3 things we need to do in order to thrive: accept that change is inevitable, you need to make yourself relevant, and speak up.

We are more than likely going to be hunkered down for the next few months at least.  How are you going to serve your people?  How are you going to change the way you do business?  What are you going to do modify your work so that you are relevant during this time?  Most importantly, this is NOT the time to freeze what you’re doing.

Last week, I hosted a coaching call to bring everyone together.  One of the things I continue to share is that you must continue reaching out to people.  Keep asking your donor base for advice during this time.  Like I’ve said before, ask for advice and you’ll get money.  Ask for money and you’ll get advice.  The more you ask for advice, the more engaged your volunteers and donors will be with the work you’re doing.  If you don’t speak up and rally them together, they aren’t going to come to track you down. 

I want to share a few ideas with you on how I’m implementing these 3 things.  One of the major areas I focused on when I first got started was that I wanted to be a fundraising coach, consultant, and trainer.  I wanted to do one-on-one coaching where I could work with nonprofit organizations and ministry leaders to dig in and provide them with expertise and how to avoid the pitfalls of fundraising.  Coaching is a really big deal for me because I can see things coming from a mile away.  You can move so much quicker when you have someone else guiding your efforts.  Consulting is where I go in and dig in deep with clients.  Now, these are really large clients who are running multi-million-dollar campaigns.  And then I do training with larger groups of people.  This has consisted of in-person training days with you, your board, your volunteers, etc.  However, I find the best way for me to train is online and I’m already set up for that, so my life hasn’t really changed a lot. 

One of the programs I’ve been running for the last two years has been for people and organizations putting on signature fundraising events.  I made it a high price point because I wanted to make sure the people in my class were really committed.  I did not want people to show up and do it halfway.  I have a great group of students and we meet every single week.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated the time that we share together, and I know that they have utilized each other’s ideas – there’s such a synergy between all the people in the group.  I’ve seen their fundraising grow exponentially, and one thing I’ve recognized is that they are not experiencing fear during this time because they have the funds. 

Here’s the deal, I’m all about freedom.  The definition of freedom is to act, speak, and think without holding back.  My current students are not lacking or having any sort of scarcity around their finances.  They have the ability to focus on what really matters, which is serving their people well.  I’ve been teaching people how to put on signature fundraisers and we aren’t putting on signature fundraisers right now.  And this is part of the change I’ve had to accept.  What I needed to do and what I have done is to figure out how to make myself relevant. 

First, I’m cutting all of my prices!  I am opening the doors for the first time since November.  I want you to have access to me as a trainer so you’re not sitting there freaking out about how you’re going to fundraise and get through this.  You can access Fundraising Freedom Academy at www.fundraisingfreedomacademy.com.  I’m not asking you to apply or jump through any hoops.  I’m asking you to join because you need community now more than ever.  Oftentimes, people tell me that they just want to know how to fundraise, but this is actually the least exciting thing I teach because there are so many sources out there that tell you how to do it.  I find that the two most important things are the coaching and the community.  I show up every single call and want you to know you’re not alone in this.  When you’re struggling, I’m going to coach you through it.  None of us do anything great on our own.  We need each other and we need community.

The other thing I want you to know is that I’ve niched down. I have another program for missionaries called Fully Funded Academy.  If you are a missionary who is raising personal support, please check it out.  But if you are a ministry or a faith-based leader who is running a nonprofit organization, Fundraising Freedom Academy is for you.  It directly aligns with my book, Fundraising Freedom, and it is for organizations and focused on raising tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars for your cause.  I am now allowing students to come in on a monthly basis at only $97 a month.  You can come in, steal what you want, and leave if you want.  But I’m telling you, the most important part is the community.  You can also buy-in at the annual rate, which is less than $1000, gives you two months free as well as access to a live, online training.  I also have one more option where we can do some one-on-one coaching.  Most of my coaching clients are typically with me for three months and then they are out the door!  I want to teach you how to fundraise and then let you go do it. 

If you’re feeling stuck and frustrated and you couldn’t afford my course in the past, this is the time to join in on one of my programs.  I’m hosting a free training this week, which I will send out in an email this week.  If you are not on my email list, make sure and go to maryvalloni.com to sign up!

Connect with Mary:

Fundraising Freedom Academy

Fully Funded Academy

Mary Valloni



Fundraising Freedom Roadmap

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