Fundraising - one of the most invigorating and frustrating words in the English language. It’s not a complex word by any means. Dictionary.com simply defines it as “the act or process of raising funds.” Simple enough, right? But let’s be honest, it doesn’t always feel that simple.
Unfortunately there is no silver bullet – no fool proof fundraising strategy that will lead to millions of dollars in one fell swoop. If that were the case I’d be charging a lot more for Compel!
Here is what’s at stake in fundraising: behind every dollar raised is a person. A person God moved to give. Let us not forget God’s economy. God’s greatest resource is His people – more specifically the hearts of His people.
Quite simply, if money itself were the answer, the question would have been answered a long time ago.
To make my point, let me share a tale of 2 donors. The stories are real but the names have been left out to protect the innocent!
A while back, I met with what we call a high capacity donor – someone who has the financial capacity to make large charitable gifts. She shared with me that she had recently attended a fundraising event for an organization. She was so excited because their ministry fit perfectly with what she felt God had laid on her heart as her life mission. After communicating her interest in supporting the organization, she received a polished project proposal which she eagerly funded.
However, months later after hearing nothing, not a single thing, from the organization regarding her gift or resulting impact, she sat in front of me questioning whether her gift had made any difference. She was disappointed. She was hurt. She felt her giving didn’t matter. The first check she wrote was for several thousand dollars, which is a significant gift. But she intended to write the next one with an added zero if she felt she was a part of something and that her giving mattered – that it had impact.
Now counter that with a colleague of mine who gave a hundred dollar gift to a different organization and had a very different experience. She received a handwritten note, a phone call, and her tax receipt included a message from one of the children whom her gift benefited.
Honestly, my colleague could not stop raving about them – not about the lavish treatment she received but what she was a part of. She had no idea that her giving could make that much of a difference. She bought into the why of the organization and she was hooked. She not only felt her giving mattered – she was excited about the impact and couldn’t keep from sharing it. Regardless of the number of zeros on these ladies’ checks, the desire for connection and accomplishing vision was the same. They both felt called to be part of something – a cause that God had laid on their heart. I’m sure you can guess which one is going to give again and likely invite others to join her in doing so!
God’s economy is as much about the heart as it is anything else. The heart is the treasure God is after and when unleashed it’s a treasure that can change the world. Take a moment and just imagine….imagine what God could accomplish in and through your ministry if the hearts of those who’ve joined with their checkbooks were truly engaged and ‘all in’.
When our fundraising strategies begin and end with just the checkbook, then yes, we’ll raise a few dollars. But when our strategies include engaging and ministering to the heart of the giver, well then hang on for some Ephesians 3:20 (beyond imagination) transformation and impact!