Need to raise money for a training, program, or retreat? Here are some suggestions on how to get started...
There are many crowdfunding sites out there that will help you get your fundraising message and goals out to a larger audience. Here are just a few platforms that past participants have used successfully. Once you set up a fundraising page on one of these sites, don’t forget to use your own social media to promote it among your networks.
Raising a Mala
A key training practice of the Engaged Mindfulness Institute (formerly known as the Peacemaker Institute) and used by participants on street retreats, Raising a Mala is a profoundly connective and empowering fundraising model. A mala is a string of beads traditionally worn by Buddhist monks and nuns, and in this case, each bead on the mala represents an amount of money raised and the person or people who contributed that money. Participants could work on raising an 18-bead “wrist” mala or the traditional 108-bead mala. For street retreats, the names of each donor are written on the beads or attached to the beads in some way, and you wear your mala when undertaking your practice, training, and social actions, bringing your mala supporters with you, working together for peace.
Most people, after reflecting deeply on their personal vision for their work and the role of this training in preparing and empowering them for that work, write a mala letter, which they then send out to the widest possible network of family, friend, associates, and beyond. The key is to then follow up this letter with phone calls and personal meetings. The real joy and blessings of mala practice are discovered in these phone conversations and meetings, where you have the opportunity to have intimate conversations with others about what really matters most to them and to you, whether that particular conversation leads to a mala donation or not. Remember a cardinal rule of fundraising though—don’t forget to ask for the donation, or in this case, the case for the person to invest in your work and our communities, world, and future by sponsoring a bead on your mala. Participants should send thank you letters to all their mala supporters regardless of the amount, small or large.
We consider mala practice to be essential training for the following reasons:
In this modern era, many of us have difficulty asking for help, especially financial help. While the “rugged individualism” that is so much a part of western, and especial U.S., culture has certainly produced extraordinary material and technological development, it clearly has its limitations and often leads to isolationism, dangerous and ineffective “go it alone” policies, and a complete denial of the reality of “interdependence” (that fact that we are all dependent on one another for our very survival). Mala practice challenges us to recognize the reality of interdependence and to go beyond our “Lone Ranger” tendencies and our reluctance to be open with others about our training and financial needs.
Mala practice requires us to “go public” with our vision, aspirations, and commitments. To effectively raise funds through the mala practice, we must first get clear about our vision for our work in the world and then be able to articulate that with great clarity and passion. Mala practice requires us to go deep inside and really enroll ourselves in the vision we have for bringing positive social change and peace to our communities and societies. Only by becoming thoroughly one with and enrolled in our own vision, can we effectively enroll others in that vision.
Whether we are already involved in progressive social change work or have aspirations to do so, fundraising will play a key role in our work. Many of us see fundraising as some kind of necessary evil and hope that someone else will do it, so we can just focus on the work itself. We recommend the book, Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist. This renowned spiritual activist and fundraiser (Hunger Project and Pacchamama Alliance) challenges us to raise our consciousness around fundraising for social change work and to see it as a spiritual act, a spiritual practice. Her work is very powerful and has transformed the fundraising programs of numerous major nonprofit organizations. By enrolling others in our vision and asking them for financial support, we are giving them the opportunity both to practice generosity, the highest spiritual act, and to invest in a better future for everyone.
Mala practice does not end with asking for financial support. You communicate regularly with your mala supporters, keeping them informed of your progress and work and sharing your journey with them. Many participants send out a regular newsletter to their mala supporters creating a community of donor-partners for their work. By continually educating, appreciating, empowering, and including these supporters in your work, many will become life-long friends and supporters.
Engaged Mindfulness Institute’s Scholarship Fund
We strive to make our Mindfulness Teacher Training programs as accessible as possible. To support us in this mission, please consider making a donation to our Scholarship Fund. Help bring the valuable skills of our trainings to qualified applicants who otherwise can’t afford it. We prioritize scholarships to applicants who work within marginalized and/or underserved communities as well as applicants from communities currently under-represented in teaching positions, such as People of Color and LGBT individuals.
***Write “Scholarship” in the dedication line of your donation to contribute to the EMI Scholarship Fund.
All donations to the Scholarship Fund for the purpose of assisting others with their tuition are tax deductible for the original donor (USA only). In the case of any such tax-deductible contributions of $250 or more, we will send an acknowledgment letter to the donor as required by law.
Prison Dharma Network (dba Engaged Mindfulness Institute) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization incorporated in the State of Massachusetts.
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For U.S. donors, please click this button to make a secure credit card donation through Network for Good.
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Donate by Mail
You can also send donations by mail to:
Engaged Mindfulness Institute
PO Box 206
South Deerfield, MA 01373