Donor Evangelists

“As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

Peter and John were walking to the Temple to pray when a lame man cried out asking for alms. Peter responded, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6). Immediately, the man jumped to his feet and began to walk. This amazing miracle presented a preaching opportunity for Peter who proclaimed salvation by faith in the resurrected Christ and many people believed. This displeased the Jewish rulers, so they tossed the disciples into prison.

The next day all the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law questioned Peter and John. The rulers were in a tough spot; it was hard to deny the miracle when the formerly lame man was standing before them. They ordered Peter and John to quit speaking and teaching about Jesus. To which they replied, we can’t stop talking about what we have seen and heard!

How can you, as a fundraiser, make such an impression on your donors that they can’t stop talking about your ministry? Consider these four strategies.

The rulers were perplexed by these “unschooled and ordinary” disciples noting that Peter and John “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Donors notice when they sense you have spent time with Jesus. Donors are also attracted to your ministry when you spend time with them. In fundraising, absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, you must invest time with your ministry partners.

The people believed Peter’s message because the lame man was leaping and praising God right before their eyes. Donors talk about you when they see changed lives. Recently, a development director shared a capital campaign opportunity with a grandparent. The man was pleasant but noncommittal. Then the development director took him on a tour to visit his grandson’s class. His demeanor immediately changed, and he volunteered for the campaign committee.

The rulers commanded Peter and John to stop speaking about Jesus, but they responded, “We can’t, and we won’t.” When your ministry faces opposition, donors watch for your response to see if you will stand firm or water down your convictions. Don’t be afraid to stand for the truth. Donors who also stand for the truth will stand with you.

When Peter and John were released, they met with the other believers to pray and praise God together for delivering them (Acts 2:24). Be transparent with your ministry partners about the difficulties you face. Treat them as insiders so they can rejoice with you when God answers prayer. Satan brings opposition to cause division, but God uses trials to pull your constituency together. “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4:31). Ask God to shake up your ministry and your donors.

Response: Father, please give us strength to act courageously in the face of opposition. Help us fear you, not what men can do to us.

Think About This: Others are watching how your ministry handles pressure. Your obedience gives them boldness to stand firm for Christ.

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