RSVP Declined

“‘I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?’ Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer” (Nehemiah 6:3-4).

God assigned Nehemiah the task of building the wall around Jerusalem. He was a capable leader who rallied the people to make tremendous strides despite severe opposition. His enemies responded with anger, insults, and threats of violence to impede his progress, but nothing worked. The children of Israel stayed on time and on task. Then his foes thought of a devious plan—invite him to a meeting! Every fundraiser should follow Nehemiah’s time management strategy.

Your Work Matters

Nehemiah realized he was involved in a great project. Israel’s future hinged on his success. Without the wall, the people would be vulnerable to attack. The completed wall would allow people to go about their daily lives to work and worship in peace. Others in your organization might not see your value but your job as a fundraiser is critical to your ministry’s success. Without resources, you won’t be able to provide for those you serve.

Stay Focused

Nehemiah realized unnecessary meetings would distract him, burn time, and prevent him from accomplishing his goal. So, he declined the meeting request, “I cannot come to your meeting. I am involved in a critical job. Why should I leave it and go to your meeting?” Set your priorities and stick to them. If the meeting doesn’t directly relate to bringing in resources, assign someone else. Your primary job is building donor relationships. Stay focused on your task and stay in your lane.

Avoid Unnecessary Meetings

Meetings are a necessary evil of every organization. You will be tempted to accept every meeting request because you want to be a team player. You might even have a special expertise that would add value to a meeting outside your department. Don’t do it. You must graciously decline time and time again. The most effective use of your time is spent identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major donors.

Stay Vigilant

You’ve got to admire Nehemiah’s single-mindedness. They kept asking and asking hoping he would acquiesce, but Nehemiah turned them down every time. Instead of your colleagues asking you to help them accomplish their department goals; turn the tables and ask them to help you raise money. At the end of the fiscal year, you will be evaluated on how much money you raised, not on how many meetings you attended. You can’t avoid every meeting but learn to say “NO!” more often.

Think About This:
Elon Musk of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter believes meetings “are what happens when people aren’t working.” He has three rules for meetings: (1) No large meetings, (2) No frequent meetings, and (3) Don’t be afraid to leave. “Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”

Father, give me wisdom to know how to manage my time well. Help me ignore things that distract me and concentrate on things that matter.

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.

1 Comment
  • tauris
    Posted at 06:31h, 05 March Reply

    This is absolutely great. This came to me at the right time. God is certainly aligning my gifts and the gifts of others for His purpose. I’m happy I did not say No to Him. I’m happy I’ve learned how to be focused. I’m happy I’ve learned the power of saying No and not attending meetings that don’t address the work I am involved in and most profoundly, my value and time are worth more than being polite.

    Thank you for this powerful message.

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