24 Sep Passing the Donor Test
“When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. Arriving with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all she had on her mind. 2 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 3 When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, 4 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.” 2 Chronicles 9:1-4
Donors are investors. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. once said, “I have been brought up to believe, and the conviction only grows on me, that giving ought to be entered into in just the same careful way as investing–that giving is investing, and that it should be tested by the same intelligent standards. Whether we expect dividends in dollars or human betterment, we need to be sure that the gift or the investment is a wise one and therefore we should know all about it.”
Solomon was by no means a charity case, but the queen of Sheba came with expensive gifts and hard questions. He answered her every question, nothing was too difficult for him. Major donors also ask hard questions. They conduct the same due diligence as they would for a potential business partnership and look for least three key indicators.
Fiscal Responsibility. Businesspeople want to know that your ministry plans make sound financial sense. They may want to review your audit, challenge your financial projections, and question your strategic plan. The bottom line is they want assurance that if they give significantly, you will manage their gift well. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).
Spiritual Impact. Kingdom givers want spiritual outcomes and resonate with everything you do that advances the Gospel. Supply facts and figures that demonstrate your ministry effectiveness. Always tell your story through the stories of the lives you have reached for Christ. Be just as concerned about your spiritual accounting as you are of your fiscal accounting.
Healthy Organization. Wise donors know that only spiritually healthy organizations can make an eternal difference. Solomon’s kingdom was breathtaking. The palace was beautiful, the food superb; everything and everyone were in their right places. The queen even noted his attending servants’ exquisite uniforms. But what caught her attention was how happy Solomon’s people were (v. 7). She recognized that God was the reason Solomon’s court was so special. “Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you” (v. 8).
For the queen, seeing was believing. Solomon exceeded her expectations. She was amazed at his wisdom and how God had blessed him in every imaginable way. Will your ministry pass the donor test? Interestingly, Solomon gave her more that she brought to him (v. 12). That’s true for your donors and you. They bless you with their gifts, but your gift to them is far greater. By partnering with your ministry, they will lay up treasures in heaven!
Have a Spirit-led fundraising week,
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.