Skip to main content

Abundance vs Scarcity: What Drives You?

Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full person? Your answer illustrates your belief in abundance (there’s enough to go around) or scarcity (there’s never enough).

So many nonprofit organizations are led by those who have a scarcity mindset. They move from one crisis to another. Fundraising for immediate needs only. They can’t imagine a different, better future. They burn out.

We don’t have the money; we’ll never have the money.
Having a poverty mindset keeps an organization and its leadership stuck in the present with no hope for the future. It is important to have a balanced point of view, optimistic and pessimistic, but both must have the best interests of the organization and its clients in mind.
An optimistic outlook is stronger when it’s grounded in a solid budget with realistic revenue projections and program expenses. A budget projects the future. A stretch goal gives your supporters something to strive toward.

How can you lift the morose “veil of scarcity” mentality? It’s not easy. It takes stepping forward and saying, “We need a change.” It also takes the willingness of those entrenched in the security of, “We can’t do any better, so why try?” to step out of the comfort of scarcity into the unknown of abundance. This can be terrifying. Not trying, in a perverse way, means not failing, and no one wants to fail.

Here are some suggestions for changing your personal scarcity mindset:

  • Start your day by reflecting on the positive things in your life. Practice gratitude.
  • Practice showing appreciation for others by celebrating their successes and complimenting their actions and comments.
  • Reflect on how far you’ve come. Notice what you have and how you’ve reached your accomplishments.

An organizational cultural shift usually needs help from the outside, from someone who’s not invested in the organization. There are change-agent consultants who work with the board and leadership to shift ways of thinking and attitudes. The staff and other volunteers will also need help adjusting to a new way of thinking.

Here are some ideas to help shift the mindset within an organization:

  • Encourage collaboration, not competition.
  • Show your gratitude to others.
  • Advocate and give support; helping others lifts everyone.

The global Covid pandemic dramatically shifted our economy and every aspect of our lives. There’s no going back to the pre-Covid ways of doing business. This is the time to think boldly and creatively. Talk with your donors, your board, staff, and volunteers. Listen for a different perspective on how you can best bring together all the necessary resources to serve and uplift the vulnerable people in your communities.

DMGroupConsulting, is your frontline fundraising consultant. Contact us at

Schedule a free 30 minute consultation.