22 Oct Consider the Ant
Last Saturday, I was working in my yard and noticed an ant on a rock running around in a small circle. He looked like he was taking hot laps at Daytona. He kept circling and circling and circling like he was trapped in some sort of loop that he couldn’t escape. It was a strange sight but a great illustration (see for yourself in this :20 video). Are you trapped in your own never-ending circle of fundraising activities? It’s easy for a development professional to run from one activity to the next – chasing, but never catching the prize. Consider the ant and evaluate your fundraising efforts.
Don’t Be Lazy
Solomon highlights the ant to scold sluggards who only work when their boss is watching and miss opportunities. Sadly, fundraising has its share of less-than-productive staff. There are countless timewasting activities to divert your focus. Can you say YouTube? Paul taught that our responsibility is to, “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” (Colossians 3:22).
Be Busy with Purpose
The industrious ant works diligently all summer and fall to prepare for the winter. The ant doesn’t have a boss telling him what to do or inspecting his work. He’s wired for productivity. Yet, busyness is also 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 various 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 that will produce the highest and best results for my ministry?
Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
Your approach to fundraising is different because you desire to serve the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. You have the right attitude, now you need the right plan. Attending staff meetings, writing reports, planning events, approving department expenditures, and creating marketing materials all seem important. However, good is often the enemy of the best. The best use of your time is meeting with your key major donors. Put donor visits at the top of your to-do list, otherwise you will be caught in a loop of good tasks and miss your greatest opportunities. Whom can you schedule a visit with today?
Response: “Lord, I want to serve you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Forgive me when I focus on things that don’t matter and neglect things that do.”
Think about this: Your to-do list is top of mind every day. Instead of adding to this list, consider developing a not-to-do list.
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.