Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

We like to say that fund raising is “equal parts art and science.” For the science part, we can apply formulas and strategies and be fairly sure about what the results will look like. But the art portion is where the “unexpected” comes in.

Recent work on a capital campaign for one of our clients bears this out. In the Pre-campaign study, we identified a couple of lead gifts of $250,000 and a “hopeful” gift that could approach 6 figures. This gift would be contingent upon a few things falling into place. When we set the campaign goal at $10 million, we established a scale of gifts with one gift of $1,000,000, 2 gifts at $500,000, and so on. You get the idea. The steering committee was committed to “praying in” the $1,000,000 gift. No one knew the name of this prospective donor except for a few of us closest to the campaign. In a capital campaign, it is important to secure this level of lead gift support early on.

A couple of months into the quiet phase (the period of time when the committee solicits the lead or “anchor” gifts to the campaign), we were still praying. It was hard to tell if that potential gift was still out there or not. Communications were ongoing with the potential lead donor, but the campaign was not getting much traction.

That is when the tide changed. God chose to answer the prayers in a different, “unexpected” way. A supporter of the organization brought someone in for a tour who was “on the radar” but not a current donor. It was an initial visit, followed by another meeting and a couple of conversations about the campaign. Then, unexpectedly, this “new” donor informed us that he would provide a lead gift in the form of a matching gift – not for the amount we were praying for, but rather 3 times that amount. That’s right – a $3,000,000 lead gift – from an unexpected source. The committee could not have planned or strategized this. It was a God-sized miracle.

The campaign is now at $5 million and moving forward. Thank you, Lord for answering our prayers. And not just meeting the need, but going way beyond what we could hope for or imagine. And, from a source we were not expecting. So, pray with faith and always be ready!



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