5. Big Vision Attracts Big Dollars

This principle clearly articulates the biblical truth that without vision the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18, KJV) Wow, pretty tough revelation. Do you think Solomon, who was one of the wisest men who ever lived, is saying that without vision we are going to die? Well, yes, as a matter of fact that is exactly what he is saying.

Major donors in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand—all places where we have worked and conducted capital campaigns—want to fund vision. Most major donors who have the capacity to give big dollars have no interest in funding the past (debt service), and frankly, most do not have much interest in helping you fund the present (annual/operational) budget. Our experience and research indicate that major donors want to help you make a difference in the future (your organizational vision). I shared this concept in my book Major-Donor Game Plan. The quality of your organizational and campaign vision will impact the quantity of your major donor participation.

If the 90/10 rule is a reality (90 percent of your capital campaign dollars may be given by 10 percent of your donor constituency), it is imperative to clearly define and re-define your vision statement. Write it in stone, shout it from the rooftops, and make it known throughout your organization to all your target audiences. Haddon Robinson, former president of Denver Seminary, made this awesome statement regarding vision and how it grasps your constituents.

“Leaders lift people’s eyes to what matters. By bringing the eternal into time they summon Christians to a different perspective. Leaders must not only see the city; they must also talk about it in plain words their followers can grasp and that grasp their followers.”

How high is your organizational vision? Is it high enough to attract major and mega donors who have the capacity to help you achieve that vision? Lay strategy early and share these two elements with all your target audiences: the uniqueness of your ministry (what sets you apart from others), and your organizational vision (where you are going and how you intend to get there).

About the Author: Pat McLaughlin President/Founder – Pat started The Timothy Group in 1990 to serve Christian ministries as they raise money to advance their missions. TTG has assisted more 1,800 Christian organizations around the world with capital, annual, and endowment campaigns. More than 25,000 of Pat’s books, Major Donor Game Plan, The C Factor: The Common Cure for your Capital Campaign Conundrums, and Haggai & Friends have helped fundraisers understand the art and science of major donor engagement. Pat makes more than one hundred major donor visits annually and provides counsel to multiple capital campaigns.

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