17 Sep Blessed are the Peacemakers
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
Development departments fail for many reasons including issues like unclear vision, inadequate donor information, insufficient funding, misguided strategies, lackluster implementation, and ineffective communication. Dysfunctional internal relationships top the list for many organizations. You can have the greatest ministry vision, an outstanding CRM database, well-designed strategies, dedicated board members, and clear donor communications but without a healthy organizational culture you will struggle to reach your fundraising potential. Paul shares four antidotes to overcome toxic work cultures.
Be completely humble.
So much office drama could be avoided if we simply practiced humility toward one another. Unfortunately, our egos wrestle to gain the upper hand. We chafe when someone else gets credit for what we’ve accomplished. Solomon teaches, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Prov. 13:10). How have you shown pride in your workplace?
Be completely gentle.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). When a coworker is harsh, you can respond in kindness or throw gas on the fire. If your boss is unreasonable, calmly and gently make your case. “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone” (Prov. 25:15). Follow Paul’s instruction, “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Phil. 4:5).
Fundraising demands great patience. Externally, it takes time to schedule donor meetings. It can be very frustrating to make multiple attempts to connect with your donors, but you must maintain politeness and kindness. Internally, crafting solicitation materials involves considerable time for writing, designing, proofing, and printing. Being impatient with fellow team members or external vendors usually doesn’t speed up the process but only adds anxiety and stress to your entire team.
Bearing with one another in love.
Eugene Peterson’s The Message paraphrases Ephesians 4:3 this way, “pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” We all have unique personalities and idiosyncrasies and are bound to rub one another the wrong way. A culture of love recognizes and appreciates the differences and works quickly to reconcile when disagreements arise. The greatest solution is to deeply love one another because “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).
These principles are easy to say and difficult to implement, but the right atmosphere makes fundraising much more enjoyable and productive. If your development department is toxic, what proactive steps can you take to keep the unity of the Spirit? Paul admonishes us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).
Think About This: When times are good everyone is happy, but ugly personalities emerge when times get tough. Sometimes the only way to maintain the peace is to terminate a disruptive employee. “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended” (Prov. 22:10).
Response: Father, forgive me for things I’ve said and done which have caused drama in our department. Give me wisdom to repair broken relationships on our team.
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.