As a co-worker in the Findhorn Foundation for eight years, I became increasingly aware of the financial challenges within the non-profit world and spiritual culture of the community. In the role of leading the core educational offerings, the primary income stream for the organisation and the primary gateway for guests, I was determined to make this area as successful as possible. Non-profits can be a haven for the martyr archetypes!
The warrior is often active too. Reversing a ten-year trend of declining income over consecutive years, within my area of influence, I became a keen student of the many elements involved. Attending the Centers Gathering each year it was clear the financial dimension was the weak point in the holistic system for many other centers as well.
A classic text on the subject, ‘The Soul of Money’ by Lynne Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, The Hunger Project, and one of the most successful philanthropists of modern times, came into my awareness. I reached out via her website on a few occasions, keen to engage Lynne’s support in the Holistic Centers Network.
At the Gathering last year, an even more perfect guide showed up in the form of Mindful Money Coach Karen McAllister. Mentored by Lynne Twist for a few years, Karen brings this expertise to her role as Chair of Clear Sky Center in BC, Canada. I encouraged her to hold a session exploring the Jungian archetypes (Warrior, Magician, Innocent, Victim, to name just a few) and how they can play out in us.
Karen explained, “All new staff of Clear Sky are required to explore their relationship with money as a vital step in developing a healthy holistic culture.” This inspired me deeply and I was keen to learn more. There’s an insightful money quiz on Karen’s website, quick and easy to do, that generates a report profiling which archetypes are active or passive. These of course fluctuate over time.
After the Gathering we engaged in one on one coaching for a few months. It was deeper work than I anticipated, exploring my earliest memories of money, every year until now, patterns and beliefs I’ve inherited from my parents. I became aware how they played out and instead began to relate to money in healthier and more conscious ways. There was homeplay in between each session and I placed my trust in Karen’s care, skill and sensitivity.
When these sessions came to an end, Karen and I prepared a proposal for the HCN Board to consider group coaching. It was a swift and unanimous decision to engage in this collective journey. The Board admitted afterwards they didn’t really know what they were saying yes to and moved ahead in trusted. The value of the experience was voiced from the very first session.
We worked with Karen and her colleague and teaching partner Duncan Cryle. Duncan was Chair of the Clear Sky board before her, and is currently the accountability officer at Clear Sky as well as advising on strategy and organizational development.In parallel he holds a position as an IBM Executive in Toronto. It was Duncan and Karen who originally brought money coaching to Clear Sky as a tool for transforming the Board and management’s relationship towards money to be more balanced and healthy. The male and female balance added richness to our exploration and worked well with the Board of HCN.
With the group coaching we met via zoom and paired up in to buddy groups for break out conversations and home play sessions in between. This helped create safety and bonding, revealing more of our inner world to each other over time. Ralph White, co-founder of the New York Open Center, which is celebrating 35 years in 2019, said, “I’ve sat in many meetings in the city, the only one present who’s not a millionaire. I’ve been on many boards and this is the only one that’s looked consciously at its relationship with money.”
By the time of our fourth and final session (of phase one) dynamics were emerging among the group. It was messy – and necessary – to look at these openly and honestly as we strive to become a thriving non-profit. We committed to a zoom call amongst ourselves to explore ‘the dynamic creative tension’ and in the meantime Karen and Duncan began to collate their final report.
“Doing the archetype work was fascinating, and helped give each of us a new perspective,” said Carol Donahoe. “Understanding our strengths and weaknesses in relation to money, as well as our triggers, has been helpful. I’ve never worked in an organization that did this kind of personal work up front, and I feel it is a great foundational leg to build HCN on.”
We’re all growing in awareness around which of the archetypes play out both in ourselves and in each other, so we can sensitively call these out in future meetings. Who ever said becoming more conscious is easy? Throw money, decision-making and vision alignment into the mix and it promises to be quite a journey. We’re the Holistic Centers Network and committed to demonstrating a holistic way of being in the world! One that embraces all dimensions, including the oft ignored, money’s a dirty word, financial piece.
There’s been natural confusion as we learn to ‘speak a new language’ and find different ways of relating to each other. The final report included a review of the top three financial priorities/challenges identified by the HCN Board/Executive Director, how these can be understood and approached in terms of the money archetypes, along with suggested steps the Board could take to address these.
Such a report is an important guide into the future, not simply a reference to be read once or glanced over; it’s there in support if used well. I smile at the synchronicity of our webinar next week (set a few months ago) – Exploring the Benefits of Money Coaching as a Non-Profit. It’s taken a month or more for us to engage more fully in the on-going work essential to reap the benefits of the investment. We’ve stumbled down a few holes along the way. Check the map before proceeding! We’ve climbed out of them too with each other’s support.
Priority 1: Clarification on what HCN wants to be as an organisation, each Board member’s commitment level and turning the emotional tension between the Board and ED to creative tension.
As a young organization, with a long and informal history, we continue to strengthen our foundation as our trajectory becomes ever more exciting. It’s a sign of our success that we’re called to pay close attention to the building blocks of communication, clarity, honesty and commitment; we’re maturing into a more passionate and effective working group.
Priority 2: The Scarcity Mindset. We’re operating in an economy and environment of scarcity and lack.
Board member Rachel Davey put it very clearly: “The challenge is to change our mindset and the way that we, as leaders of holistic centers, think about money. Currently HCN cannot provide leadership to centers in this area. Currently we cannot take the idea of sufficiency and abundance and the worthiness of our work and existence out into the wider community of centers.”
Our commitment to model a thriving and inspiring organisation is the exact reason we embarked on the coaching. We invite you to join us for our webinar next week as we share more insights. The report offered small but significant steps that we can take to progress and we’ll implement these steadily over time.
Priority #3 – Changing members’ mindset in order to effectively fundraise and feel comfortable asking for money. I imagine this is one relevant to most if not all of us? We need to stand in the Magician archetype – the Magician sees fundraising as facilitating the allocation of resources in a way that money is moving money towards their greatest and highest commitments.
Can you imagine what might be possible if, as a network, with a collective reach of millions, we commit to this inner work? During the Gathering at Hollyhock in May, the Board and ED of HCN will be having an in person session with Karen and Duncan. Karen had suggested, “Shall I bring my hats?” I replied, “Yes!” with great enthusiasm.
We’ll play out the archetypes and deepen our understanding. After all, if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable. And if we intend to fulfill our missions in the world, taking responsibility for our sustainability, believing in abundance, breaking out of limiting non-profit paradigms is key.
“It’s the impact vs dollars conversation,” said Terence Gilbey, General Manager and CEO of Esalen Institute, after reading this post. “A for-profit returns shareholder value and a non profit returns impact on mission. Both are quantifiable if you do it right!” That’s one of the great gifts of this network, learning from the experience of one another, in the spirit of collaboration. Stay tuned as our exploration deepens, join our next webinar and in the meantime enjoy this TED talk by Dan Pallota as we shift our way of thinking around leadership and non-profits.
Our monthly webinar series is the second Wednesday of the month and we invite you to join Karen McAllister and Duncan Cryle as we explore:
The Benefit of Money Coaching for Non-Profits
Wednesday 13 March, 10am PST