Feng Shui for nonprofits. Part 1: Attracting funding


feng shuiToday’s post explores how we can use feng shui, which means “wind water,” to optimize the energy in our work space, not just so that we feel good while at work, but also so that our space attracts funding for our organizations. Now, I do not claim to be a feng shui expert, so keep that in mind while you read the tips below. If it makes you feel better, I did do some light Googling during commercials of Iron Chef while writing this post.

Makes sure your desk faces the entrance to your space. Never have your back to the entrance. Not only is facing the door symbolic of your being able to see and receive any opportunity that passes by, but you’ll also be much more successful watching your favorite shows on Netflix streaming. If for some reason you can’t move your desk or computer, place a mirror so that you can still see behind you.

Place a large money tree in the conference room, or wherever your board usually meets. Money trees attract wealth, and placing it where your board members meet provides them with energy to go raise funds. If the money tree starts to look unhealthy, it may mean that the board has been neglecting their fundraising duties. Get a new tree right away. And maybe a new board.

Have a lucky bamboo near you. They are really easy to take care of. Just stick them in some water with a handful of pebbles. The plant represents the element wood and provides a sense of growth, the pebbles represent earth and provide a sense of grounding, the water provides a flow of energy. That’s three out of the five feng shui elements. Throw in a paperclip to represent metal and tie a red ribbon around the bamboo to represent fire. When your bamboo dies (probably from the rusting paperclip), get a new one immediately to symbolize renewal.

Find out where the Gates Foundation is relative to your organization.  Now get all the desks in your office to align facing that general direction, especially the Development Director’s desk. If for some reason you can’t move your desk, get an award letter from a grant you received and tape it to the wall that’s lined up with the direction of the Gates Foundation.

Get a Care Bear. If you have a cranky coworker that you barely get along with, it distracts you and diverts good energy required for fortune to come in. Buy a Care Bear, and put it strategically in a place in your office between you and this person. Don’t get Grumpy Bear, though.

Make a thousand paper cranes. In Japan, a thousand paper cranes are made for special occasions, such as weddings, to symbolize luck, peace, and health. When you getcranes a grant rejection or other rejection notes, fold them into a crane. You’ll reach a thousand in no time.

Have at least 9 different things that bring you happiness. Pictures of your family, Farside cartoons, photos of cute baby animals, etc. The number 9 is especially lucky. For me, I have a whole bunch of mini bottles of alcohol. Having these items around bring me a dose of happy energy, especially effective before staff meetings.

Unclutter. Especially get rid of angular or pointy objects, or at least point them away from you. Sharp objects—knives, letter openers, colleagues with spikey hair—bring about bad energy, and having them directed at you is not good. If you must keep them, point them in the general direction of that coworker who leaves their dishes in the sink for days. Just kidding. Direct them at a plant, to absorb all that bad energy.

Surround yourself with leadership and management books. Yeah, you will never get around to reading them. However, these books bring good energy and knowledge, which you can absorb by osmosis. Why, just by having Jim Collin’s classic book in the office, my org’s porcupine has gone from good to great on the flywheel. Or something like that.

Put up pictures of your favorite program officers. You can usually find them on foundation websites. Program officers are so dreamy, and their pictures will help increase the energy to bring in site visits. Just make sure you take the pictures down during any actual site visits, since restraining orders may bring negative energy to your work space.

With a few simple changes, you can improve the energy around your space, which will help to bring in fortune. In “Feng Shui for Nonprofits, Part 2,” we will talk about how the arrangement of tables, chairs, and where people are seated during meetings affect the energy around power. Gotta go. I have a few dozen cranes to fold.

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  • I’m so glad someone pointed me to your site! Thanks for the smarts, nicely packaged in out-loud laughs!

    • Vu

      Thanks, Mary. I checked out your blog, and really like the posts you’ve written so far, especially on the scarcity vs. abundance mentality.

      • Thank you, Vu. Just starting, so lots of mistakes to make on my way to learning. I’m glad for the good examples I can learn from – like yours!