“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

There was no one like Timothy. He had a son-father relationship with Paul (see Phil. 2:22), accompanied him on missionary journeys, and became the pastor of the church in Ephesus. Long before he met Paul, Timothy’s faith journey began through the godly influence of his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. They lived their faith out loud, and Timothy followed their examples.

Parents and grandparents are key partners in Christian education. Many Christian schools host Grandparents’ Day to honor them. It provides a great opportunity to see their grandchildren in class and love on them. Grandparents can get involved in five important ways.

Grandparents are prayer warriors. They already pray for God’s blessing on their grandchildren, and they will faithfully pray for your prayer requests. Give them specific needs and let them know how God answered their prayers. If you are considering a building campaign, encourage them to ask God for wisdom and the resources to accomplish your goal.

One school organizes an encourager’s campaign. They send blank note cards to their grandparents asking them to write an encouraging note to their grandchildren which will be delivered during finals week. The notes encourage both grandchildren and grandparents. The school asks for a donation but emphasizes a gift is not required. Ninety-five percent of the cards are returned with a gift.

Grandparents can serve as faithful volunteers. They can read to elementary classes, help with science projects, chaperon field trips, or assist with music or athletics. Take note of special interests and find creative ways to get people involved. When grandparents see first-hand the impact you are making and the needs you have, they are more likely to give generously.

Grandparents typically have more resources than their children who are still trying to build their wealth. Help them understand the many ways their gifts could impact the next generation. Build donor loyalty by asking them to give to your annual operating fund or to other current needs, then ask them to participate in a significant way in your capital projects.

Legacy gifts can make a substantial impact by providing seed money for a capital campaign or funding an endowment. Have you ever specifically asked a grandparent to remember your school in their will? It’s one thing to ask in a group setting or mention estate planning in your marketing materials, but it is much more effective to meet your grandparents face to face and boldly ask.

Think About This: Colleges seem to be at a disadvantage with grandparent strategies. Some host a Grandparent’s Day but most don’t know many grandparents by name. Ask your students for their grandparents’ contact information by referencing 2 Timothy 1:5 as your reason. Frame it like this, “The faithful prayers of your grandparents are the reason you are a student at our college/university, we want to thank them for their godly influence in your life by sending a gift, please share their names and addresses.”

Response: Father, please give us creative ideas to involve our grandparents as true ministry partners.

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 two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. 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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