On a hot day this summer I visited an outdoor swimming spot and after dangling my toes off the pier for a bit was inspired to challenge myself. It felt like decades since I last dove into the water headfirst, but as I curled my toes over the edge, extended my arms in front of me with one hand piled atop the other, the familiarity of that posture felt reassuring and exhilarating from the inside out. A moment later my ears were tucked into upper arms upside down, and I spotted my feet suspended for a moment against a backsplash of blue sky, before feeling my head break through the cold, rippling surface.
Trying something new, unearthing a joy from youth, or confronting something scary can be pathways toward encountering a more authentic self and orientation in life and work. For those of us dedicated to building the capacity of our organizations with fund development, grant writing, and donor engagement, we are at once sustaining our own capacity for giving of ourselves alongside that of our partners. Our pursuit of funding partners through phases of “Moves Management” can mirror the ways we show up to keep the work fresh and refreshing like a cool swim on a sweltering afternoon. Happily, there’s plenty to explore if you’re testing the waters at the intersection of inner wellbeing and social change. We can fundraise in a way that necessitates a personal and organizational change to advance a more equitable world, aligning the external impact we strive for with our own personal growth. Here are some ideas:
Research: We start by exploring the funder landscape and see where there is alignment with our organization. External research about what’s out there informs who we want to be and what types of transformation feel possible. At the level of personal growth, we can begin again (and again) by considering who do we admire, what do we aspire toward, where do we fit and what are our values. Especially in our childhood years, we are in this extended phase of knowledge gain, experiencing the world as it exists on other people’s terms. We ask,
- “Who and what am I learning about?”
- “What topics inspire my curiosity?”
Discovery: During this period we become more proactive and generative to try new things, explore, connect and learn with new partners about the possibilities for collaboration. It matches an internal process of seeking and finding ourselves during adolescence where we self-identify with the person we want to be and the company we want to keep. We ask,
- “What inspires me about these new connections?”
- “What feels possible together that didn’t feel possible on my own?”
Cultivation: By now we are building up a steadiness and consistency for continued engagement with others. We’re homing in on a cadence or rhythm for collaborating with new partners, where we grow in stamina and responsibility, preparing to become even more ourselves and to be and do even more together. We ask,
- “What is the additional work I want to take on?”
- “What am I ready for? What do I feel committed to?”
Solicitation: Now is the moment or the phase to explicitly ask our partners and ourselves to make an investment and prioritize a commitment to demonstrate we have skin in the game. This time of reckoning requires deep honesty with ourselves. We ask,
- “How am I directly implicating myself and people close to me in this cause?”
- “How am I arranging my time, treasure, and talent to align with my values and core beliefs?
Stewardship: Here we are tending and nurturing to the relationship, attentive to communicate proactively as changes occur, celebrate successes, and acknowledge challenges. During what may feel like a less momentous phase, this is when we must lean even further into the work, hold the tension of holding our own attention, and not look away simply because we can. We ask,
- “How will I show up today to advance and align with my values and deepest cares?”
- “How is a sense of positive possibility present in my thoughts, words, and behaviors?”
To everyone out there working to manage your moves and become a better, committed, and full authentic self in order to bring forth a more equitable world, there’s meaning to be making even in places you don’t expect. Our very own Funding Archive – BOOST Cafe is a great source for dipping your toe into new opportunities. The next time you visit a shoreline or visualize a body of water in your mind, allow yourself to consider, what is the task or responsibility you have yet to commit to? What would it feel like to dive in headfirst and feel the cool water splash your forehead?
Come on in. The water’s fine.
For breakfast, I had oatmeal with yogurt and cinnamon.