11 Dec Fundraising Know How
“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills” (Exodus 31:2-3).
God gave Moses the intricate plans for the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the covenant, and all its furnishings. He also assigned Bezalel to create all these holy items. In today’s vernacular we would call him a “maker.” Bezalel knew everything about everything—a jack of all trades. He was a master metalsmith, stonecutter, woodworker, seamster, leatherworker, and a perfumer (see Exo. 31:4-11). Bezalel became this gifted artisan because the Holy Spirt filled him with supernatural wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill. The Spirit can also fill you with fundraising know how.
God came to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon could have asked for long life, wealth, or the death of his enemies. Instead, he asked for wisdom. If you were answering for your ministry, how would you respond? Would you ask for a balanced budget? New buildings? More staff? More people to serve? Most ministry leaders would ask for a huge endowment. Instead, you should seek God’s wisdom to fundraise well.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). You make decisions every day, how many of those decisions do you pray about? How often do you inquire of the Lord about your right next fundraising step? The tribe of Issachar were “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). Some nonprofits understand their financial needs but don’t seem to understand that they must cultivate relationships with donors who could help meet those needs.
Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience. How have you increased in your general fundraising knowledge? More importantly, how have you increased your knowledge about your key donors? Fundraising is about relationships. Who do you know? How are you connected? What are your donors’ giving interests? When is the best time to ask? What projects get them excited? Get to know your major donors.
Solomon hired Huram to work on the Temple. He also was a skilled craftsman who “was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work” (1 Kings 7:14). It takes practice to become a skilled craftsman. Likewise, it takes practice to become a skillful fundraiser. The best learning is not in a classroom but in the field talking with major donors. Asking is the most important skill a fundraiser must develop. Refine your asking skills by asking more.
Think About This: Fundraising wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill starts with being filled with the Spirit. God gives you the same opportunity he gave Solomon. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
Response: Father, when it comes to my fundraising efforts, please “fill me with the knowledge of your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Col. 1:9).
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.