05 Jun Asking Husband and Wife
Nehemiah heard of Jerusalem’s desperate situation; the city walls had been destroyed and the people were living in constant danger (Neh. 1:1-3). He wept, prayed, and planned for four months about how to solve this problem. One day as he was serving as cupbearer, the king noticed Nehemiah’s sadness and asked what was wrong. This was Nehemiah’s major donor moment—he shared his burden and asked the king for (a) passports, (b) royal timber, and (c) time off. This verse adds an interesting dynamic, the queen was sitting beside the king and heard every word. The fundraising application is clear: as often as possible, you should include husband and wife when you ask for a gift.
Generally, women tend to be more emotionally expressive than men. That’s important to remember because what your ministry does to serve people should have an emotional element. Nehemiah himself was moved to tears for the people living in Jerusalem (Neh. 1:4). He was motivated to act because of the critical needs of hurting people. Include both husband and wife as your share your stories of changed lives. Men might make an intellectual giving decision; women are more concerned with issues of the heart.
It’s interesting that the queen is mentioned in the context of the king’s question, “How long will it take and when are you coming back?” It seems that the king and queen liked having Nehemiah around and were going to miss him when he was gone. The cupbearer wasn’t just an ordinary slave, he was the king’s confidant. As official taste-tester, he had sipped multiple glasses of wine to ensure that the king and queen were not poisoned. In your donor development work, make personal friends with both the husband and wife.
One great reason for meeting with husband and wife is to tap into a woman’s intuition. Women possess a knack for knowing what others are feeling and thinking. Jon Voight observes, “There’s something real in women’s intuition. It’s an accurate signpost for decision making, but it usually bumps up against man’s logic. So, we have to put ego aside and listen to them.” Include wives in your solicitation conversations, perhaps one will share some insights that will improve your project.
Actuarial tables calculate the average life expectancy for women is 79 years and 72 years for men. Perhaps you’ve seen a funny meme of why women live longer than men that usually includes electricity, water, ladders, and other risky, non-OSHA approved activities. You should cultivate wives as major donors, because statistically they will be making giving decisions years after their husbands have passed onto Glory.
Think About This: An administrator pitched a husband and wife on clock tower project. The husband’s first reaction was, “I don’t think we are interested in this.” His wife responded, “I think it’s a great idea!” To which the husband continued, “I think we’re interested in this.”
Response: Lord, please give me insight to include husbands and wives in our giving opportunities.
Ron Haas has served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving and Keep on Asking – Bold, Spirit-Led Fundraising. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.