The Fundraising Beggar

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. (Mark 10:49-51)

Bartimaeus sat along the road to Jericho for a lifetime begging for alms from all who passed by. One day he heard the commotion of a crowd on their way to meet Jesus. Emboldened, he cried out to Jesus, but the crowd shushed him to keep quiet. He didn’t stop but cried even more, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:39). Jesus heard his cry, called for Bartimaeus, and changed his life for eternity. Bartimaeus’ boldness teaches us four important fundraising truths.

Do Your Research.
Word about Jesus of Nazareth had traveled far and wide. Even though Bartimaeus was blind, he could still hear and knew that Jesus could help him. Scripture records thirty-seven miracles of Jesus; healing Bartimaeus was number thirty-three. He had plenty of evidence that Jesus had the power and the willingness to heal him, so he cried out with confidence. Do you know a major donor in your world who could help if he or she only knew the impact your ministry makes? Keep your ears open for generous gifts major donors make to similar ministries.

Keep Asking.
Those around Bartimaeus were embarrassed for him and didn’t want him to make a scene. They didn’t have the same urgency as he did. They had their sight and had no idea what it was like to live in total darkness. Likewise, those who are uncomfortable with asking find excuses for not asking. Some even project their reluctance on you by saying, “Why bother? That donor would never pay attention to you!” Don’t listen to the naysayers. Keep asking!

Don’t Delay.
When Jesus called, Bartimaeus jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. As a fundraiser, arrange your life around your major donor’s schedule. Be flexible. When they finally answer your emails or phone calls, reach out immediately. If they suggest a time to meet in person, clear your calendar and move heaven and earth to make it happen. Any delays on your part might give the donor the impression that you’re not that interested.

Ask Boldly.
Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” A gift officer was passionately sharing a ministry story when the major donor interrupted, “What do you want from me?” Would you be ready with an answer, or would you hesitate? Bartimaeus responded confidently because he knew Jesus could provide exactly what he needed. Major donors give to what you ask them to give. Ask confidently and expect an enthusiastic “YES!”

Response: Father, forgive me for negatively seeing fundraising as begging. Help me listen for opportunities to share our story with key donors and be ready with an answer when they ask how they can help.

Think About This: John Wesley’s expectation of his preachers was that they would be ready to preach, pray, or die at a moment’s notice. Hopefully, as a fundraiser you are spared the die part, but you should always be ready to pray and ask!

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