Quiet Fundraising

“In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built” (1 Kings 6:7).

Building projects are active, noisy places with foremen shouting orders, laborers cutting timber and hammering nails, and skilled masons chiseling stones to perfection. However, God required quietness for the Temple construction site. All the stonework was done off-site. Workers on-site carefully positioned each stone without using any hammers, chisels, or iron tools. This amazing construction process teaches five fundraising truths.

Some fundraisers create “hoopla” because they believe donors need excitement to motivate them to give. A compelling project does inspire donors, but they should be excited by your ministry story and the lives you impact for eternity, not just an auctioneer’s gavel, a fancy location, or a gimmicky activity. Donors should be quietly transformed by their giving. If their gift is merely an emotional transaction, their support will fade.

Work for the Temple started in the quarry. Fundraising happens outside your office in the donor’s home or office through quiet conversations. This is where you listen to your donor’s heart for your organization and what motivates them to give. Secure the lead gifts well in advance of your fundraising event. Don’t wait until the night of your banquet to ask for “big rock” gifts.

The accuracy of these craftsman was incredible. Some of the cornerstones in the Temple Mount weighed 50 tons or more. Stone masons quarried, squared, carved, and honed these massive stones for an exact fit. Josephus says that “the smallest interstices were not perceptible between the stones.” Effective major donor work requires precision. Listen carefully to your donor’s passion so you can ask for the right gift amount for the right project—especially from your cornerstone partners.

When the work was complete, Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant and dedicated the Temple. A cloud filled the Temple so that “the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple” (1 Kings 8:11). Always remember that your building project is not the outcome. Your key results are what God accomplishes in your new facilities as the Holy Spirit changes lives.

Solomon employed 3,300 foremen to supervise 80,000 stonecutters in the hills, 70,000 stone carriers, and 30,000 men to cut timber in Lebanon in shifts of 10,000 a month (see 1 Kings 5:13-17). Your project requires people to ask and people to give. Asking is spiritual work. Both the asker and the giver are accomplishing kingdom work, and both can be transformed by the quiet work of fundraising.

Response: Lord, forgive us for using hype to motivate people to give. Help us reach our donors’ hearts one conversation at a time.

Think About This: Your faith-based donors “like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). God has selected the donors he wants to build your ministry through their acceptable sacrifices. It’s your job to find them, inspire them, show them how they fit, and ask them to partner with you.

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