Firm Peg Donors

“I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a seat of honor for the house of his father. All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars” (Isaiah 22:23-24).

Eliakim son of Hilkiah was a servant of King Hezekiah whom the Lord promoted to the throne. Isaiah described Eliakim as a peg driven into a firm place. Householders hung their kitchen utensils on pegs in the wall. Something on its peg was in its proper place ready to be used. This unusual image illustrates the importance of preparing major donors who are ready to support your ministry.

Isaiah gave Eliakim the keys of David meaning “what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Isa. 22:22). John used the same description for Jesus Christ (Rev. 3:8). When the Lord opens a door for your ministry, no one can shut it—yet many will try to stand in your way (1 Cor. 16:9). Major donors can help you unlock opportunities that others can’t. Share your passions for what you believe God is prompting you to solve. Help them see how they can lay up treasures in heaven by partnering with you.

Hang On
Firm pegs illustrate security. Eliakim was a strong leader on which Israel could rely. Having trusted major donors by your side gives you confidence to tackle new opportunities. If your key supporters endorse your direction, then you will succeed. Who will stand with you to open your next ministry door? Identify those major donors in a feasibility study as you consider a capital campaign.

Everything was held by a peg—from the large pans and pots to the small bowls and cups. Don’t think that just because you’re not a big ministry major donors won’t be interested in what you do. Major donors have room for more than one ministry on their giving list. Giving is based on relationships. Concentrate on identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major donors already in your constituency.

Go Away
Eliakim was a “peg in a firm place” for a season. Eventually, he was broken off when Judah was finally sent into captivity (Isa. 22:25). Sometimes, when a major donor adopts a ministry, the ministry relies too heavily on that single donor. A major donor had given $600,000 annually to a Christian school for more than ten years. One day, he decided to shift his giving priorities to other interests forcing the school to scramble to make up the lost revenue. Find more than one firm peg to hang onto.

Think About This: Robert Pierpont, from the Fund Raising School at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, observes that in a capital campaign the ten largest gifts set the pace for success. If you don’t secure key leadership gifts, you can’t find enough small gifts to fill the gap. Pierpont remarked, “Once the big-gift-first sequence has been seriously violated, the entire program is in jeopardy.” Focus your efforts on finding firm peg donors and hang your capital campaign on them.

Response: Father, please bring us key supporters who will partner with us to fulfill your mission.

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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