18 Jun Fundraising Math
“Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you” (Leviticus 26:8).
You know the adage, “It takes money to make money.” The Pierce Family Foundation in Chicago surveyed ninety nonprofit organizations to learn the number of fundraisers they employ per dollar raised. They discovered it takes one full-time staff person to raise $500,000. How many fundraising staff do you need to be successful? God promised if Israel followed his commands, he would help them accomplish much more than they could in their own strength. When they were obedient, the math was 5 to 100 and 100 to 10,000.
“Five will chase a hundred.” Which five will you hire? As executive director, you are the number one fundraiser. Your first hire should be an administrative assistant to help you manage your donor portfolio. Secondly, hire a development director who spends most of his or her time outside the office visiting donors. For every subsequent hire you should ask, “Are they adding overhead or gift income?” One rule of thumb is a gift officer should raise their salary in the first year, double it in the second, and triple it in the third.
If “one hundred of you will chase ten thousand,” should you hire one hundred fundraisers? Universities have an army of major gift officers, grant writers, researchers, a marketing team, event planners, plus all the latest software to track every gift and every gift officer’s next move. Whether your organization has dozens of fundraisers or just you—fundraising is still identifying, cultivating, and soliciting donors.
Moses’ math was, “How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had surrendered them?” (Deut. 32:10). Moses warned if Israel disobeyed, only two enemies could defeat them. The opposite is also true. Two will put ten thousand enemies on the run. The same principle works for you. Two can accomplish much. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matt. 18:19).
Joshua encouraged Israel with this promise. “One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.” (Josh. 23:10-11). Don’t be discouraged if you’re all alone. God can multiply your efforts. Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
Think About This: God promised an abundant harvest for obedience, “You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new” (Lev. 26:10). God can bless you with so much abundance you will have to make room for all the new money!
Response: Father, we don’t have one hundred fundraisers. Please guide us with the Spirit’s power and direction to multiply our efforts.
“Fundraising Staffing Survey.” n.d. Pierce Family Foundation. https://www.piercefamilyfoundation.org/resource/fundraising-staffing-survey/
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.