Because of You

“I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” (Philemon 6-7)

Paul had a special friendship with Philemon. He wrote this personal reconciliation letter on behalf of Onesimus who ran away from Philemon, ran into Paul, and met Jesus. Paul’s letter is a wonderful example of how to write an effective fundraising appeal emphasizing donor-centric language.

Your Partnership

Paul viewed Philemon as a partner, not just a donor who supported his ministry. Paul’s role in this spiritual partnership was to deepen Philemon’s faith in Christ. You play an important role in the spiritual maturity of your ministry partners. You can pray, share Scripture, counsel, grieve, comfort, guide, and walk along side of your donors as they experience life’s joys and sorrows. For some ministry partners, you might even become closer to them than their pastor.

Your Love

Donor relationships thrive on love. Philemon lived out 1 John 3:18, “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Paul expressed how much joy and encouragement Philemon had given him and others. Do you tell your ministry partners how much they mean to you? Write a note today and express how much you appreciate them.

You Have Refreshed

Paul doesn’t stop with a brief “thank you,” he paused and emphasized how much Philemon had blessed him and the family of believers. “Because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 7). Those words had to strike a chord in Philemon’s heart. No doubt, he was just grateful God had used him to bless others.
Jerry Panas, the godfather of fundraising, coined the acronym BOY, “Because of you…” What an incredible phrase to include in your donor conversations, “Because of you, lives have been impacted for eternity.” Consider these phrases as you engage your ministry partners:

  • You play an integral role through your prayers and generosity.
  • You can give to help people whose greatest desire is a warm meal.
  • Your compassion and unselfish giving will make an eternal difference.
  • Because of your gift…
  • This is your compassion at work in the lives of children.
  • We know you have many opportunities to give, and we are honored you would choose to provide help to these needy families.
  • Your gifts are making a lasting difference.
  • You can transform…
  • Your love rescues…
  • Your help makes their future bright.
  • Your support has led to remarkable milestones.
  • Your unwavering commitment to our mission…
  • God used you to provide hope for hungry children and families.
  • Your generosity showed many people they matter to God.

Paul understood the power of “you” centuries before Jerry Panas. Change your vocabulary. Start saying, “Because of you.”
Think about this: What specific ways can you help your ministry partners grow in their walk with Christ? Perhaps God brought them to your ministry so you can minister to them.
Response: Father, thank you for Paul’s example of treating his ministry partners as intimate friends. Remind me to always show gratitude for the important role they play in our ministry.

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 three 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  Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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