Major Donor Line Up

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:10-11).

King Saul disqualified himself, so the Lord sent Samuel to Bethlehem to select the next king. Jesse’s seven sons passed by Samuel, but the Lord rejected each one. At the end of the parade, Samuel asked if there was another. David was taking care of the sheep, so Jesse quickly summoned him. When David arrived, Samuel immediately anointed him as the next king of Israel.

Identifying major donors can take a similar path. We look for external indications of wealth—what they do for a living, where they live, what they drive, etc. However, these clues don’t uncover a donor’s heart. Samuel was impressed with Jesse’s good looking sons, but the Lord warned him, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). What qualities should you identify in a major donor?

God gave David an amazing descriptor, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22). Listen carefully to your major donors to discover their passion. Some might have great resources, but they might also have a high appetite for the pleasures of the world. Look for people interested in doing what God wants them to do.

David was not ashamed to get his hands dirty. Thomas Stanley’s book, The Millionaire Next Door identifies seven common traits of those who accumulate wealth. Most millionaires aren’t flashy but tend to be business owners who work hard, save money, and live middle-class lifestyles like you and me. When searching for your next major donor, look for the guy who has owned your local hardware store for the last 50 years.

Major donors are skilled at what they do. “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Psa. 78:72). Unbelievers are certainly successful. True success is a gift from the Lord and is connected to generosity. “Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deut. 15:10).

 “From that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David” (1 Sam. 16:13). David had an impressive resume, “He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.” (1 Sam. 16:18). David’s dependence upon the Spirit set him apart from all the others.

Think About This: David was Israel’s largest major donor. Solomon built the Temple, but David gave generously from his own resources and rallied the Israelites to join him (see 1 Chron. 29:2-9).

Response: Lord, help me look at the hearts of my potential major donors, not their appearance.

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.

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