Did you know there’s an upper limit to how much money you’re comfortable asking for?

It’s called a money ceiling and we all have one.

We’ve all got a number and it’s somewhere close to the biggest gift you can imagine getting. Can you see yourself asking for and getting $500? How about $5,000? $50,000? $5 million? More? Think through the possibilities and see if you can find your money ceiling.

Whatever the number, anything beyond that feels unrealistic and is not in the realm of possibility. In fact, you may start to laugh at a certain number. When we do a money ceiling exercise in a workshop, the nervous laughter tells us when we’ve hit someone’s money ceiling.

Your money ceiling may be different from your coworkers or your Board. We’re all a little different. That’s because your money ceiling is set by your experience with money over your lifetime. Are you someone who has known what it’s like to not have enough money for basic needs or someone who has never struggled? Are you someone who struggles to live within their means or has a lot of debt? Were you taught to pay cash and avoid credit card debt? Was putting money away in savings something that was highly valued? All of this and more helped to set your money ceiling.

Why all this personal digging?

Because your personal money ceiling will have a huge impact on the amount of money you can raise.

Think about it – if you can’t imagine someone ever giving more than $5,000 to your nonprofit, you’ll never see donations come in higher than that.

Want to try to expand your money ceiling? It takes work. You must try very purposefully to get a gift that’s significantly higher than your money ceiling. Write that number down and post it where you can see it regularly. Get used to the number. Tell yourself it will happen. Heck, go ahead and write the thank-you letter that you’ll send when someone makes that gift. Then get ready, because it will happen.

If you really want to raise big money, you have to understand yourself and your personal attitudes around money. Remember this – you’ll never raise more money than you think you can.

So, as you think about raising your money ceiling and aiming higher, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Are you really willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal of raising more money…big money? When you can answer “Yes,” then you are ready.



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