This is a guest post by Robert, who lives in Calgary and worked as a financial adviser before retiring at age 35. He is married, has three kids and has returned to school with the goal of eventually living and working overseas.
Later this week, I’ll be rappelling down a skyscraper in downtown Calgary. The event is in support of Easter Seals, and I’ve committed to raising funds for their efforts to bring increased mobility to disabled children. This is the first time I’ve undertaken fundraising, so it’s new to me. I’ve realized that it’s not really comfortable to ask people for money. It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me, since I try to generously support just one cause, and I regularly turn down most other requests for small donations.
Very few of the people I have talked with have been very interested in the cause. Rather, they seem to trust me that it’s a good cause, and they will donate as a favour to me. I have had one-on-one conversations, either in person or by email, where I’ve asked if people will support me. Those people have generally been helpful. But a mass email or a facebook post has had almost no results, probably because people are busy and they already have good uses in mind for their money.
Math doesn’t seem to apply. I have tried to ask people for a specific amount that I think they can afford, usually $20, $50 or $100. The easiest choice for people is yes or no, rather than having to do the math for how much they can afford and how much they want to support the charity. But the other way that math doesn’t apply is summed up by the old saying “what goes around, comes around.” Most people seem to believe this, to some degree, and are willing to help others knowing that it could be them in need of help one day.
I try to remind myself, when I have the chance to donate, that it doesn’t mean I’ll have less money. It means that when I need help from others, I’ll be likely to get help. Further, there’s nothing impressive about giving money that I didn’t need anyway. And it helps to remind myself that I want to develop a mindset of abundance, rather than scarcity. There’s enough money to go around, and I can get as much as I really need. When other people have more money, that doesn’t mean less for me and it certainly doesn’t mean I won’t get enough. Since I have the money I need (for the present), I’m able to help others who need it.
I’m not asking you to donate to my cause, since I don’t know most of you personally. Do you have a habit of making charitable donations? Have you ever tried to raise funds for a cause?