28 May I’m Not Good at Fundraising
“For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action” (2 Corinthians 9:2).
When Paul raised relief funds for the Jerusalem church, the Corinthian believers were the first to respond and promised to give more. Paul shared their eagerness with all the other churches in Achaia and their generosity encouraged most of them to get involved. There is no stronger endorsement of your project than committed donors sharing your story with their friends. Hebrews 10:24 teaches, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” How can you encourage your board members to encourage their friends to give?
Many times, major donors seem reluctant, not eager, to ask their friends to support your ministry. Perhaps they don’t want their friends to return the favor. Perhaps they think encouraging generosity will harm their friendship. Perhaps deep down they are people-pleasers. Paul warns, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).
Ready to Give
Strike while the iron is hot. The time to ask the networking question is when your donor gives. If your ministry is worthy of your donor’s support, it’s worthy of their friends’ support. The problem with the Corinthians was their initial fire for the project cooled off a little. Paul rekindled their passion by explaining how others got involved because of their generosity. It’s kind of a reverse matching gift challenge. The Corinthians gave first prompting others to give. The generosity of others prompted the Corinthians to follow through with their pledges.
Enthusiasm begets more enthusiasm. Tell your ministry impact stories with zeal. Then when God blesses you with a major gift, celebrate your donor’s generosity testimony. Encourage your donors to spur on their friends to join them in supporting your compelling case. Many people need a gentle nudge to part with their resources; a sacrificial gift inspires others toward generosity. The most effective fundraisers on your team might not be those with professional skills, they might simply be those with passion.
Stirred to Action
Peter served as a board member of a youth ministry launching a capital campaign. The ministry leaders asked him to chair the major gifts committee. Peter responded, “I’m not good at fundraising.” Instead, he committed to match every gift dollar for dollar. Then Peter contacted his friends and asked them to join him. His first friend gave $200,000; the second gave $300,000. Soon they reached their $3 million goal. Peter’s ministry friends teased him, “You’re a pretty good fundraiser after all. In fact, you’re better than all of us combined.”
Think About This: Mark Twain observed, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” Generous giving from your board members makes a powerful statement.
Response: Lord, please ignite our board members with contagious enthusiasm for our ministry. Give them courage to be our champions!
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.