“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 that in the eyes of the world and among fellow believers he had not done anything to tarnish his reputation. That doesn’t mean that everybody liked him or that his ministry was free from conflict. What it does mean is that Paul’s life and words matched. People knew that Paul meant what he said and lived what he believed.

Integrity is a bedrock principal of fundraising. Donors must have complete confidence that you are accomplishing what you advertise in your ministry and wisely using the funds you receive. Accurate donor reports are critical to continued donor engagement. Everything your ministry does either builds trust and credibility or erodes it – your communication, your ministry impact, the way you deal with controversies, and even the way you treat your staff.

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? Charles R. Swindoll noted, “Only you can do the self-exam needed for integrity. No one else knows the truth.”

God bless,

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