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If you have been following the Fundraising Freedom Podcast, when I first started it I actually called it the Mary Valloni Show. And if you’ve been following for a while, you know that I follow the steps that I teach in my book, Fundraising Freedom. Those steps follow the acronym FREEDOM because what I want for you, and what I want for me, is freedom. So, I have been spending the last several weeks and really the last several months thinking through what my vision is. What does it actually look like to focus your vision? 2020 has obviously caused us to have to take a step back and really look at everything. What is your vision for your life; the passion and purpose that you have for the work that you do? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had some moments where you’re like, ‘what am I doing? What is happening? Where do I even fit into all of this?’ I’ve spent a lot of time journaling and walking through my vision for this podcast, my vision for my business, and trying to really pull back the layers and remind myself why I do the work that I do.
In chapter one of Fundraising Freedom, I share with you that I really want to make sure that you have your mission, your vision, and your timeline in your budget. I also want to make sure that you know exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you don’t have a passion for the work that you’re doing, people will see that. Usually, that means that your donations will run parallel to that. You may see that your donations declined because the people just don’t follow this movement that you have created for your cause. At the top of every podcast episode, I talk about how I want to educate, encourage, and empower fundraisers to raise more funds and have more freedom. And I do believe that that is at the core of what I do. That is my mission. I want to teach you, I want to encourage you, and especially this year, I want to encourage you to keep going and to not give up. I want to empower you to know that it’s possible to take that education and really step out into a new place in the work that you do so that you can speak on behalf of the people you serve. Those three core tenants are what I believe, and I spent several years really trying to nail down what that mission was. Of course, on the vision side, I’ve always wanted to end the lack and scarcity mindset. In the nonprofit sector, even the word nonprofit means not for profit. And so many people look at our nonprofits and say, ‘well, you can do this on less, you don’t need that much.’ As nonprofit leaders, you are told that you maybe shouldn’t make as much as you make or that you shouldn’t be compensated well for the work that’s being done and I just do not believe that I believe that you should be compensated well.
I also believe that your charity should have every dollar that it needs to actually end whatever problem you are trying to solve. I would say 100% of you are trying to raise dollars for your nonprofit because whatever you’re trying to fix wasn’t fixed by the for-profit sector. So not only do you have to do this on limited resources, you have to follow the government guidelines and you have to do it with very minimal income. I understand the challenges that you are faced with and I get that, and I feel your pain deep within my soul. I mean, I have been doing this for 20 years, and I know that you guys sacrifice, and you do this with very minimal rewards. I just think you guys are absolutely incredible; the heart that you have for the people you serve is just off the charts. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate the ability to share with you some of the things that I’ve learned in the nonprofit space. Of course, we know we can always do better and that there’s always more that can be done. But the thing is that you guys are showing up every single day, doing the hard work that somebody else couldn’t accomplish. For that, I just want to give you the biggest high five and virtual hug and to let you know that I’m really just so grateful that I get to really do life with you guys.
I’ve had to have some tough conversations with myself, and I’m sure you have been in this same boat, trying to figure out what are we going to do as we move into the new year. How are we going to stay focused on what we were actually called to do? For me, I’ve had such clarity in the last year that I was really called to help faith-based organizations. My heart is for people who are sharing the gospel and helping change lives. I’ve launched several programs over the last several years, mostly on one-on-one coaching and group coaching; helping people raise money in a group environment. The reason why I did those things was that that’s what worked for me. So, I wanted to create an environment for you so that you knew that you weren’t alone, which was my why statement. That was the why behind everything; I do not want you to be alone. I do not want you, for one second, to feel alone in the work that you’re doing because you’re not. You have so many people, me included, who care about you, who care about your work, and the fact that you are spending every day doing the hard stuff that nobody else is willing to do.
I’ve launched some programs, one of which is called Fundraising Freedom Academy. Several of you joined in and saw really, really great results. I mean, hundreds of thousands of dollars, which was just absolutely incredible. And to me, I was really humbled by the fact that those students of mine trusted me every couple of weeks, as we transitioned some of the things that we were doing, and you believed that what I was teaching was effective. Almost three years ago, I launched a program called Fully Funded Academy with my friend Mike Kim. I had actually been following Mike on his Brand You podcast for a couple of years as I was trying to build out my own personal brand, Mary Valloni Consulting. When I actually got a chance to meet him, we sat down and decided that we were going to open up a program called Fully Funded Academy, I was so excited because I had such a passion for missionaries, but it was really more of a passion project. When we launched that program, it was just absolutely incredible. We have hundreds of students now and that program has grown exponentially over the last few months. And I know that the writing is on the wall, that I have to put more of my focus on those students of mine.
If you joined in on my webinar this week, you know that I have opened up a new program called Fully Funded Orgs. Fully Funded Orgs is all about raising funds for your organization. It’s a modification of my former program, Fundraising Freedom Academy. But this is really just streamlining and getting back to focusing my vision on helping those faith-based organizations and individuals. I really cannot tell you how thrilled I am about all the people who have already joined. We’ve already had people reaching out and sharing that they are so excited about this program and want to share with their organizations and the people that they knew about this resource. This is a program that runs for a year and is specifically focused on raising those big dollars – six figures, even seven figures for your organization. But the really great thing is, is that I have this whole team of coaches who are helping me, I have people who are experts in the space of administrative support, website support, and large-scale major gift donations. I know that I can only do so much on my own – I know a lot about fundraising, but we’re always better together and I want to follow what I teach in step 3 of Fundraising Freedom, which is to enlist your team. I want to bring people around my students and make sure that they are taken care of and that they have the resources they need to continue to grow year after year after year. I’m officially starting my first session on January 6th.
I do want to share with you that because of these big things that are happening through Fully Funded Orgs and Fully Funded Academy, as well as my one-on-one coaching, I have decided to make some shifts for 2021. One of those big shifts is that I will be putting this podcast on hiatus. I don’t want to say that I won’t ever do another episode on this show. But I do want to share with you that because I’m shifting my attention over into those programs that I’m doing, I have another podcast. If you have not already listened, we have two seasons of the Fully Funded Podcasts that are live. You can immediately go there and check out those episodes. I love podcasting and I love helping people raise money so I’m not going anywhere. I will continue to share resources, educate, encourage, and empower nonprofit leaders until I am in the grave. Because I believe in you, I want to help you however I can. But I want to make sure that I’m also available and really there for my students. I have this really crazy radical empathy for these ministry leaders and for these faith-based nonprofit leaders. You are welcome to jump over there, download, and subscribe to that podcast. Every episode that we do is also on YouTube so you can watch these interviews and actually see me have conversations with some of these really great leaders in the nonprofit and ministry space.
Fully Funded Academy is an introductory level of raising support. My partner Mike Kim, who is a marketing expert, has written support letters and templates for emails or for blog posts. I mean, the resources are crazy good. Mike is the best in the industry – he’s a former copywriter who teaches copywriting and is so good at what he does. It’s only $49 a month and that is full price, it’s never going to go up on you. I invite you to join us over there, I do calls twice a month. And then Fully Funded Orgs is also two calls a month. So, for anybody who joins in on Fully Funded Orgs, they actually get four weeks every single month, with resources available to them from my team and me at Fully Funded Academy. We not only do the teaching with the coaching, but we also have a community on Facebook. You can post questions or whatever is going on in your fundraising world, and those people are there for you. They’re just absolutely incredible people and so that is something that I just want to make sure that you know is available.
I simply cannot share with you how much I appreciate you and how I appreciate the ability to do this podcast. I started this podcast in January of 2017 and nearly every single week, I have been on the microphone sharing some crazy ideas that I have about fundraising. I have loved every second of it and as I said, podcasting, in general, is something that I will continue to do. As we roll into the holiday months, I want to wish you guys a Merry Christmas. I wish you crazy abundance in your year-end support raising and that you use those letters to speak boldly. That you invite people to just come be a part of the work that you’re doing, and you do it with such confidence and being so empowered to step out and share the message of your cause. Thank you again, and I hope you all have an incredible holiday season here and I will see you over on the Fully Funded Podcast. Let’s go change the world one volunteer and $1 at a time.
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