17 Sep Blessed are the Peacemakers
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
There are many reasons why development departments fail: unclear vision, incomplete donor information, underfunded budgets, wrong strategies, half-hearted implementation, and poor communication. One problem that rises above all the rest is dysfunctional internal relationships. You can have the greatest ministry vision, an amazing CRM database, best practice strategies, a team trying to do their best, and clear communication, but without a positive organizational culture that supports your fundraising effort, you won’t reach your fundraising potential. We can all identify examples of toxic work cultures. Paul shares three antidotes:
Be completely humble and gentle.
So much office drama could be avoided if we simply practiced humility and gentleness toward one another. Unfortunately, our egos wrestle to gain the advantage. We chafe when someone else gets the credit for what we’ve accomplished. Solomon teaches in Proverbs 13:10, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Can you identify ways you have shown pride in your workplace?
Fundraising requires immense 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 never be rude or unkind. Internally, it takes time to write, design, proof, and print solicitation materials. Showing impatience 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 paraphrased Ephesians 4:3 this way, “pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences” (The Message). 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 simply love one another because “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 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” (Romans 12:18).
Have a Spirit-led fundraising week,
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 and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. 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.