29 Jan Fundraising Integrity
“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12).
Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Paul was confident he had not done anything to tarnish his reputation in the eyes of the world and among fellow believers. His life and words matched unlike the Pharisees who did not practice what they preached (see Matt. 23:3). People knew Paul meant what he said and lived what he believed. He demonstrated his sincerity in four ways that apply to fundraising.
Integrity is a bedrock principal of fundraising. Donors must have complete confidence that you are doing what you say you do and are wisely using the funds you receive. Accurate donor reports are critical to continued donor engagement. Are your ministry and reports complete and easy to understand? Everything your ministry does either builds trust or erodes it—your communication, your ministry impact, your finances, how you deal with controversies, and even the way you treat your staff. If something is amiss, be sure “your sins will find you out” (Num. 32:23).
Paul was very careful in how he handled the funds for the poor in Jerusalem, “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man” (2 Cor. 8: 20-21). On Ezra’s journey home to Jerusalem, he tasked twelve leading priests to carry 5,400 articles from the Temple plus gifts of gold and silver (see Ezra 8:24-30). When they arrived, “Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the entire weight was recorded at that time” (Ezra 8:34).
Paul had a clear conscience in how “he conducted himself in the world and especially in our relations with you” (2 Cor. 1:12). Sadly, some Christian ministries spend money inappropriately, pay their leadership exorbitant salaries, or keep two sets of books. The world has enough disdain for the church, we must go above and beyond to do what is right. Live so you won’t be ashamed when “what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3).
Organizational credibility is essential, but your personal reputation is just as important. Paul used the phrases, “integrity, godly sincerity, and not relying on worldly wisdom, but God’s grace.” Do your donors see the fruit of the Spirit in your life every time you meet with them, or do they simply see a professional fundraiser? Do they know you really care about them, or do they sense you only care about their money?
Think About This: Chuck Swindoll noted, “Only you can do the self-exam needed for integrity. No one else knows the truth.”
Response: Lord, help me have personal integrity and help me help our ministry have organizational integrity to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
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.