In my last blog post, I talked about how making decisions from a place of fear is solidly rooting you in the world of scarcity. And that’s the last place you want your nonprofit and your social change work to be.
Yet, scarcity is such an omnipresent ethos in the social change sector — from nonprofits trying to scrape by on pennies, to the funders who are writing the checks out of a sense of not enough. It seems so many of you who are working on social change are stuck in scarcity.
But we can change that. We should change that. We NEED to change that if we have any hope of actually creating a healthier and more equitable world.
The easiest way to begin moving your own thinking from scarcity to abundance is by starting to use the magical word “Yet”. I picked up this little nugget of wisdom from the brilliant Janelle Monae when she guest-starred on Sesame Street to sing “The Power of Yet.” The profound and powerful idea is that any limit or hurdle you face becomes temporary and surmountable with the use of the word “yet.”
So, “We don’t know how to fundraise effectively” becomes “We don’t know how to fundraise effectively, yet”.
That tiny little word is expansive, it’s transformative. Those three little letters open up a world of possibilities. Because once you recognize that the limitation in front of you is temporary and surmountable, you start to brainstorm how to overcome it, like this:
- We could expand our network,
- We could ask our board to do more,
- We could learn more about fundraising best practices….and on and on.
But, you may say, each one of those brainstorms raises another hurdle. Great! Slap a “yet” on those as well.
“We don’t have a big enough network” becomes “We don’t have a big enough network, yet”
And “Our board isn’t engaged or productive enough” becomes “Our board isn’t engaged or productive enough, yet.”
That tiny little word does something magical. It shifts the energy from debilitating defeat into expansive opportunity, from “all is lost” to “actually, maybe it’s not.”
Let’s try a few more:
The scarcity “We don’t have enough money to achieve our goals” becomes the abundance “We don’t have enough money to achieve our goals, yet. But if we put together a smart money-raising plan, we will.”
The scarcity “We don’t have enough of the right people on our board” becomes the abundance “We don’t have enough of the right people on our board, yet. But we can start brainstorming ideal candidates and then figure out how to connect with them.”
The scarcity “We don’t know how to fundraise effectively” becomes the abundance “We don’t know how to fundraise effectively, yet.But if we start researching and asking experts for help, we can get much better at it.”
The scarcity “We don’t have access to the policy influencers necessary to move our mission forward” becomes the abundance “We don’t have access to the policy influencers necessary to move our mission forward, yet. But if we create a list of the key policy-makers passionate about our issue, then we can figure out who in our network might be able to introduce us.”
Now try a few on your own. I promise you it’s incredibly powerful. The simple act of opening up your aperture to a world where it’s not all bleak, but rather full of possibilities is amazing. And once you make that tiny shift, abundance — of money, people, resources, influence, connections — will be there waiting for you.
There is lots more about how to move to a social change financing approach in my new book, Reinventing Social Change, which is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Porchlight, and BookShop. And make sure you’re subscribed to my email list to be the first to know about webinars, reader’s circles, trainings and other events related to the book. You can join the Social Velocity e-list here.
Photo Credit: Pepi Stojanovski