June 2014

If you've been involved in development work for long, you've probably had a situation where you made the “ask” of a donor before he/she was ready. How did you know they weren’t ready? A couple ways, probably – either he/she was offended, said “no” or gave a significantly smaller amount than you hoped for. No worries, we have all been there a time or two. Maybe a better question is - how would you know (for next time)? The relationship between a donor, the development staff person or volunteer assigned to him/her and the institution in need of support is a tricky one. There are guidelines of when a donor is ultimately “ready” for solicitation, but no hard, fast rules. Every donor, every organization and every campaign is different.

I recently read an article written by Jim Mathis and produced by the Christian Businessmen’s Committee. In his introduction, he stated:  When I was about 12 years old, my father took me to a hardware store to buy my first set of real tools. Among the first items I acquired were needle-nose pliers. They came with a lecture from my dad that he had already given me many times about the importance of having good tools, knowing how to use them, and taking care of them. He always concluded with the admonition, “Take care of your tools and they will take care of you."

I have never once caused it to rain in my nearly 34 years in our Stewardship Practice here at TTG. I know who sends the rain and it is not me. However I do know what to do with the rain once God sends it. I have been in the irrigation business all these years. I also admit to an occasional attempt at “Cloud Seeding - yes, trying to help God out a bit! Nice segue to my BHAQ-(Big Harry Audacious Question) “BHAQ QUESTION”-DOES GOD REALLY NEED US TO ACCOMPLISH HIS TASKS HERE ON EARTH?