Rewrite Your Story

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” (Isaiah 61:4).

Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 in his first sermon, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). As followers of Jesus, you are the “they” of Isaiah 61 because God has called you to a ministry of reconciliation (see 2 Cor. 5:18). Whether it’s sheltering and feeding the homeless, saving an unborn child, rescuing a woman trapped in abuse, or training a student in God’s word; you have a high calling of fundraising.

Your fundraising efforts must produce consistent results so your ministry can reach its greatest impact. Unfortunately, many development departments have fallen into disrepair and need serious renovations. Consider these four strategies to revitalize your fundraising efforts.

Most nonprofits are vexed by bad data. Common issues are missing contact fields, outdated information, data entered in the wrong field, misspellings, and duplicate entries. Without real-time maintenance, your database can quickly fall into chaos. Download your data into a spreadsheet and use the “sort and filter” button on each column to highlight errors. Try sorting by street address, full names, or email address. Once you’ve updated your list, submit it to a service like which will run it through the USPS database to provide you with forwarding addresses and 9-digit zip codes. Rebuild your fundraising plan on accurate information.

It’s difficult to fix everything at once, but your top priority must be to reconnect with your key donors. Schedule personal visits with your Top 10/Next 20 and ask why they haven’t given in a while. Listen to their concerns and seek to restore their confidence. Sometimes, it means giving an overdue “thank you.” Sometimes you may need to be a peacemaker.

Renew your donor relationships by sharing a compelling reason to give again. What’s changed in your organization? If the old has passed, what new creation has come? Share your new plans with your insiders. “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isa. 42:9).

Andrew, the new executive director, had no idea the previous director had created a toxic work environment. The team had suffered from verbal abuse, insults, and unending criticism. Andrew swiftly took charge, organizing meetings where he genuinely listened to the pain and grievances of both current and former employees. His kindness, compassion, and sincere requests for forgiveness became the talk of the organization. Donors who had written off the organization also heard glowing reports of Andrew’s Spirit-led approach and wanted to reengage. With his humble leadership, Andrew effectively rewrote the narrative and started a fresh ministry chapter.

Think About This: Isaiah prophesied about the positive things God’s people would accomplish. “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (Isa. 58:12). Repair and restore with joy. You may need to change your business card.

Response: Lord, please help me serve with humility to fix what is broken in our organization.

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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