22 Oct Consider the Ant
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).
Haddon W. Robinson, former president of Denver Seminary advised, “Next time you see an ant, remember winter is coming! The best time to prepare for tomorrow is today.” The industrious ant works diligently all summer to prepare for winter. What fundraising tasks should you do today which will result in a great harvest tomorrow? Consider these fundraising lessons from ants.
Solomon highlights ants to rebuke slackers. Fundraising has its share of less-than-productive staff. There are countless time-wasting activities to divert your focus. Ants are always working. Your approach to fundraising should be motivated by your desire to serve the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
It’s easy for development professionals to run from one activity to the next chasing, but never catching the prize. Busyness is a trap. Howard Hendricks once remarked, “It’s not enough to be busy, you have to be productive.” It feels good to check off your to-do items for the day but ask yourself, “Are these the right tasks or just busywork?” “Is what I’m doing the highest and best use of my time to produce the highest and best results for my ministry?”
The ant doesn’t have a boss looking over its shoulder inspecting its work. Paul taught the importance of workplace integrity, “obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord” (Col. 3:22). Your job description should include, “able to work independently in a fast-paced environment.”
Ants find a path over, under, or around every obstacle. Fundraisers must persevere through new challenges every day. Napoleon said, “Victory belongs to the persistent.” We must never give up in the face of obstacles. As long as you keep trying you will get past whatever is blocking your path. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).
Ants are small but extremely wise (see Prov. 30:24-26). They work together to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. Researchers have observed ants working as a team to pull heavy food items in the same direction with leaders guiding the group in the correct direction. Your ministry will make more progress when the board, executive director, and development staff are pulling in the same direction. “Teamwork makes the Dream Work!”
The best use of your time is meeting with your key major donors. Face-to-face donor visits must be at the top of your to-do list, otherwise you will be distracted by good tasks and miss your greatest opportunities. Cultivate your key donors today so they’ll be prepared for a major gift tomorrow. Whom can you schedule a visit with this week?
Think about this: Work today for tomorrow’s reward. The best time to start your planned giving program was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.
Response: “Lord, please give me diligence and focus to be productive for you.
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.