Investing from the heart

Investing from the heart | World Vision Blog

Global 6K for Water participants at the 2016 race in Chicago. (Photo: ©2016 Gaceface Media)

Asking others to help you fundraise can feel awkward and scary. But it doesn’t have to. Maybe instead of asking for help from their wallet, you can invite them to invest their heart in a cause you believe in.

Here are three ways to help you overcome your fear of fundraising!

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You hurt for the poorest children of the world. You want to do something. You give of your own financial resources, but there’s something inside that wants to do more. You want to rally the troops, start a movement, and do something BIG. But what?

I’ve been there. Partnering with World Vision has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. There are so many opportunities to get involved in order to help the poorest, most vulnerable children throughout the world. One of my favorite ways is through personal fundraising.

I used to despise fundraising. It’s awkward, right? As a kid I hated going door to door with a gift catalog filled with overpriced wrapping paper choices and not-so-delicious candies asking for my neighbors to pity me and buy something. I even hated selling Girl Scout cookies! Who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? They sell themselves! As I’ve gotten older, I have grown to love fundraising. But I had to face my fear of asking people to support a cause and take strategic steps to overcome.

I’d like to spare you a few decades of learning the hard way. Here are three ways to overcome your fear of fundraising so that you can make an even greater impact with World Vision:

1. Redefine Fundraising

One of my biggest fears with fundraising used to be the feeling that I was begging and asking favors of my friends and family. I believed that fundraising was about me and my goals and that I was asking people to help me. Inevitably I either talked people out of giving (“You don’t have to, but …”) or I felt incredibly guilty when someone gave to my cause. But the real problem was my belief in what fundraising actually is.

Fundraising is an invitation into something meaningful. When you educate your sphere of influence about real needs like global poverty, the water crisis, and child protection, you are offering an invitation to make a difference as a global citizen. Research shows that generous people are healthier people with healthier relationships and a greater quality of life. When you start to view fundraising as both impactful and purposeful to the world around us, as well as good for the people you know and love, the fear of asking people to partner with you dissipates.

2. Leverage your natural skills and resources

Fundraising is similar to sales: if you’re uncomfortable, nervous, or agitated about it, you will not experience the success that you would if you were confident and bold. It is much easier to be confident in the areas we already enjoy!

When I was still scared of fundraising, I pictured door-to-door sales and cold calls. This perception made me feel uneasy and insecure, which meant that I didn’t have great success. My lack of success was discouraging, so I didn’t want to fundraise anymore.

The truth is that fundraising doesn’t have to be door-to-door sales. Over the last decade, I have learned that while knocking on doors and making cold calls are uncomfortable for me, I am really good at bringing people together, and I have fun doing it! Event planning has become something of a go-to for me.

Last summer, my husband and I hosted a Backyard Barbecue Bash for Water to raise money with World Vision for clean water efforts. I invited local restaurants to participate; an event rental company donated a tent, tables, chairs, and a bounce house; and we organized a silent auction. About 30 people showed up on a very rainy day (thankfully we had a tent!). Over the course of about three hours, we raised $3,000!

Fundraising isn’t “one size fits all.” Think about what you enjoy doing, and then consider ways that you can use that. Do some research on creative fundraising ideas, and have fun with it! You’ll have a much more enjoyable experience and will have increased chances of success.

3. Stop thinking addition. Start thinking multiplication.

Quick math lesson:

  • 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8
  • 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 = 16

When we contribute to a cause as an individual, we make a difference. Our dollars count, however big or small they are. But when we choose to give of our own finances and then invite others into the journey with us, we start thinking exponentially.

I have stopped asking people for money; I have started inviting people to invest their hearts. When we focus on inviting people into a movement rather than asking people to give their dollars, we gain far more than meeting fundraising goals; we change the world by inviting people into a bigger story. When people are invited in, the dividends are exponentially more than if we just ask for their wallets.

Fundraising doesn’t have to feel weird. It really can be exciting, fulfilling, and an incredible way to connect with the world around you by inviting your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family into a greater purpose alongside you. When you say “yes” to fundraising for clean water, child protection, child sponsorship, or any of the other World Vision initiatives, you are saying yes to becoming an influencer and a world changer.

Would you partner with me this year to dream big, respond boldly, and fundraise with purpose?

Haley Bodine blogs at Haley M. Bodine.


When you walk or run our Global 6K for Water with family and friends, every step you take together is one that children around the world don’t have to! End their walk by signing up for yours today.

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