23 Apr Divine Appointments
“Then he prayed, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master’” (Genesis 24:12-14).
Abraham’s servant faced a challenging assignment to find a bride for Isaac. His instructions were clear—don’t look among the Canaanites, but only among Abraham’s relatives. So, he traveled to Abraham’s native land and stopped at the well outside of Nahor. Many daughters of the townspeople were coming to draw water, but how could he identify the right one? Four applications emerge about finding new donors.
Finding a bride was a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. Identifying new donors seems similar. Consider scanning your donor database with an asset screening service to identify hidden major donors. It compares your donors with public information to identify those with capacity. Another effective way to discover new prospects is by word of mouth. Encourage your board members to network within their circles of influence.
Abraham’s servant loaded up ten camels with gifts and traveled more than 450 miles to find the right person. It was worth the effort. He walked by many wells until he found one with the best prospects. Non-Christians might give to your ministry because they have similar values, but you must find your main support among God’s people. John writes about missionaries of his day, “For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers” (3 John 1:7 NLT).
Prayer is key to finding your next major donor. The servant knew he would only be successful with God’s intervention. He prayed three requests: (1) for success—not for his own glory—but to serve Abraham, (2) for God to schedule a divine appointment, and (3) for this young woman to go above and beyond to fulfill his request. There are no coincidences. God opens incredible doors if you ask.
When the servant arrived in Nahor, he parked his camels “near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water” (Gen 24:11). He went to the right place at the right time to look for the right person and prayed. Before he finished praying Rebekah showed up with her jar; he ran to her and asked for a drink. Here’s a great fundraising principle: God will lead you to the right donors, but you must ask for their help. Start your relationship by asking for a small gift.
Think About This: As you review your donor list, ask God for success, open hearts, and a generous response. Then go the well, ask, and listen for opportunities.
Response: Lord, please lead me to the right prospective donor at the right time. Give me boldness to ask.
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.