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Fundraising as Sacred Work

By Paul Chaffee


Lynne Twist

Lynne Twist

As her website says, “For more than 40 years, Lynne Twist has been a recognized global visionary committed to alleviating poverty and hunger and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability.” Her achievements much more than substantiate such a claim.

Trained as a teacher, she became the lead fundraiser for The Hunger Project, where she raised $200 million. In 1996, with her husband Bill, she founded The Pachamama Alliance, a pioneering agency engendering relationships between indigenous peoples and the modern world. Pachamama “is dedicated to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.” (See TIO’s profile of Pachamama.)

In 2003 Lynne Twist published The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, the most important book about money for anyone leading a nonprofit enterprise, bar none. For any nonprofit staffer disheartened by the seemingly grubby experience of ‘begging’ for money year after year to support the cause, this book is joyful and can be life-saving.

Twist refocuses how we perceive money in our money-obsessed culture, spending considerable time thinking about scarcity and sufficiency, including what is required to become sufficient. For her it is a spiritual quest. As she says in the video below, fundraising can be “the privilege of facilitating the reallocation of the world’s financial resources away from fear and towards that which we love.”

The Soul of Money has been translated into eight languages, propelling Lynne Twist into a speaking-teaching-facilitating-counseling career to over 100,000 people in 50 countries over the past ten years.

The same year the book launched, the Soul of Money Institute was founded. The Institute is “a center for exploring and sharing the best practices, theories, and attitudes that enable people to relate to money and the money culture with greater freedom, power, and effectiveness.” It emphasizes aligning your financial resources with your deepest values; moving from “an economy of fear, consumption, and scarcity, to an economy of sufficiency, sustainability, and generosity”; and generating resources for the common good. 

Nonprofit trustees and executives who ignore The Soul of Money do so at real risk, personally and vocationally. But the book is for us all. Of the many difficult issues in life, particularly in the current economy, money issues are often the most troubling. Here is a way out of the miasma.

Thank you, Lynne Twist.