Fired Up Donors

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6).

Starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together takes dry wood, incredible patience, and high pain tolerance. First, gather some small twigs for tinder, some slightly larger sticks for kindling, and some bigger chunks of wood. Rotate a spindle stick between your hands repeatedly on piece of wood until the friction makes embers at the base of the stick. Once there’s a glowing ember transfer it to your tinder nest. Blow gently on the ember to ignite a flame. Slowly build your fire with kindling then add some fuelwood and marshmallows.

Every believer has a spiritual gift to kindle into a raging fire for the glory of God. The privilege of sharing is one of them, “if it is giving, then give generously” (Rom 12:8). Consider these four ways to spark a fire in your heart so you can ignite generous giving in the hearts of your ministry partners, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7).

Not Timid
Paul admonished Timothy to not fear man but to boldly proclaim the word of God. Fear is a major hindrance to successful fundraising. We worry about how a prospective donor might respond to our proposal. Will they be offended? Will they get angry? Will asking for a gift harm our friendship? Some respond to this fear by talking around a gift instead of clearly asking what you want your donor to consider. Don’t heavenly hint, boldly ask!

The phrase, “do not be afraid” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. As a fundraiser you should take this promise to heart, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psa. 118:6). What’s the worst that could happen if you ask for a gift? The donor might refuse. However, a “no” is empowering because it gives you important feedback. Did they say no to the project? the gift amount? or the timing? Discover the underlying reason for their response and address their concerns.

“Perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). Where is the love in fundraising? First, your love for the Lord as you seek to serve him. Then, your love for the people your ministry serves. Finally, your love for your ministry partner as you help fan their flame to lay up treasures in heaven and take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Tim. 6:19). Focus on how your donor benefits.

What does self-discipline have to do with fundraising? Brian Tracy author of No Excuses says, “Your ability to discipline yourself to set clear goals, and then to work toward them every day, will do more to guarantee your success than any other single factor.”  You need self-discipline to keep asking!

Think About This: Fundraising isn’t manipulating your donor to do something they will regret. Fund Raising School Founding Director Hank Rosso defined fundraising as “the gentle art of teaching people the joy of giving.”

Response: Father, please help me “spur (donors) toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24) so they experience the joy of generosity.

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 At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.

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