Here at the Engaged Mindfulness Institute, we don’t want a lack of money to be a reason for people not to be able to participate in our trainings. At the same time, we need to have money coming in in order to offer our trainings at all. So, in an effort to help people who really want to participate in our trainings but are hesitant because of the cost, we want to highlight some creative ways of fundraising. One of the most elegant fundraising models that we have come across is the mala practice of the Zen Peacemakers. This method not only enables you to raise the money needed to participate in trainings, but also can help you connect more deeply with our community, reconcile yourself to the give-and-take of money, and allow your loved ones to share in your work. The following is adapted from the Zen Peacemaker website:
We continue this begging practice by raising support for our work by assembling a mala, or beads that are strung together and worn like a necklace. Each bead represents a person who supports your vision and work, and the entire mala represents your community of support.
This is a practice of giving and receiving. By asking for support from family, friends, and associates, you acknowledge that as an individual, you are limited in what you can do. We all depend on the generosity of others. This is one more way in which we bear witness in the interdependence of life.
Another important aspect of mala practice is the incorporation of the ministry of money in our program. The assembly of malas insures that money management and fundraising are not seen as foreign to peacemaking work; instead, the give-and-take of money is the compassionate, unobstructed flow of energy that nourishes and transforms our activities.
Mala practice also gives us the opportunity to share our work with our families, friends, and associates. Most of us lead professional work lives and have families. By raising money for our work, we publicize its activities, and most important, our own commitment. By wearing the beads we have assembled, we take our supporters with us in our peacemaking endeavors thus making family and friends an intimate part of this peacemaking journey.
The Zen Peacemakers suggest assembling a mala of 18 small beads, each representing a $108 contribution, and one large bead, representing $1,080. Beads can be given from individuals or from groups or families. No matter what the dollar total is, the practice can be a powerful fundraising tool, and a way of realizing the interdependence of all life.