Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Fundraising Fears and How to Overcome Them

Posted by Thomas on February 1, 2009

Raising funds can be stressful

Raising funds can be stressful


I hate fundraising. Even when I was a child in school while my classmates were excited about bugging friends and family to buy chocolate or whatever; I dreaded the process. As a father, I still hate fundraising. I’ve tried to get to the source of why I hate it; duh, fear. That realization made me wonder “what are you afraid of?”
Fundraising may not be an issue for you. When you start your son’s Rites of Passage Program you may already have the monies needed to execute the events. For me, that isn’t the case. And since I had already postponed the Ceremony and Quest for over two years fundraising is the answer for us to move forward. But, worthy cause or not, I still was fearful of the process. So, how did I overcome my fear and where did the fear originate?

The origin of my fear has evolved over the years, but looks something like this:

  • Hated rejection
  • Felt I was a peddler
  • Afraid to speak to people
  • Felt I would annoy people
  • Considered myself a poor salesman
  • Thought folks wouldn’t care about the cause I was raising funds for

Other things played a part in the origin of my fear but this list gives you an idea what I was up against.

How did I overcome my fear? Well, I haven’t, not completely anyway. I liken my current status to the life of a public speaker or entertainer: they tell the same story of not vanquishing fear (utterly destroying it) but managing it (using various techniques to mitigate fear’s effects). We don’t want to utterly remove fear from our lives; otherwise, we lose a great source of energy. Fear equals friction; friction equals movement; movement is growth—if we are not growing we are dying on the vine of life.

So I use these techniques to manage my fundraising fear:

  • Realize everyone hates rejection, deal with it
  • Relish, the fact this lasts only a short season
  • Recognize fear is a good thing when harnessed
  • Recall, without fundraising we won’t meet our goals
  • Recognize a range of methods, with a plan, leads to desired results
  • Remember all this is for my son who I love so deeply it’s scary sometimes

Overcoming my fear is a work in progress. I still prefer being in the background. But, the worthy nature of my efforts (and the efforts of our family and friends) trumps fear. Glynne, all his days, will remember how those that love him pulled together to make his Rites of Passage Program a success. And he will be a better man for it, partly because I managed my fear.

What techniques do you use to overcome the fears in your life? Share your experiences.

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2 Responses to “Fundraising Fears and How to Overcome Them”

  1. Karen said

    I smiled and had flashbacks of selling candy for Little League while reading your post – thanks for naming the fear! Fundraising fear seems to be a very common feeling – although, watching the local Girl Scouts sell cookies this year, I could spot the future Sales VPs all the way from 2nd grade!

    As a parent – I see many faced with volunteer coordinator fear as well. The fear of stepping up to lead for fear of being overwhelmed with email, late nights and begging people to step up. We address this fear head-on with our free, simple online signup tool – DOING GOOD just got easier. Automated scheduling, signups and reminders – so easy, ANYONE can coordiante volunteers. Please check us out and spread the word.

  2. […] a short and funny article about admitting your grown-up fundraising fears and how to overcome them for the sake of your […]

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