Apr 29, 2010
I recently attended a workshop and here are a few thoughts from the presenter:
- “Since your schedule is limited, you should only spend time with potential high-capacity givers.”
- “Don’t waste your time with Aunt Maude who can only give you $25 a month.”
- “Send birthday cards; send newspaper clippings of their kids; make regular contact… you’re trying to build a friendship that will lead to an Ask.”
Don’t get me wrong, the presenter was great. He was funny, engaging, well-spoken and full of energy. I liked him a lot, I really did. And what he was teaching was exactly what I expected to hear in the secular development world.
Except one thing.
I was at the CLA – the Christian Leadership Alliance Conference.
In fairness to the presenter, he did talk about the role of prayer, helping donors understand that they are stewards of God’s resources, and his love for the Lord was absolutely evident throughout his talk.
But, at the end of the day, I felt like this session was simply a focus on money and how to get more of it. At one point the presenter asked and answered his own question: “And how are you going to be judged? By the amount of money you raise, by the bottom line.”
A few thoughts in response …
- Your schedule is limited. So gain God’s direction on who you should approach about the mission and vision, and the opportunities you should provide to those individuals to help them get more involved (beyond just financial giving) in the cause for their own growth.
- Aunt Maude is not a waste of time. Maybe Aunt Maude’s $25 a month is as big a sacrifice – or even bigger – than the family who gives $250 a month. Or maybe Aunt Maude’s monthly giving is not helping your ministry grow much, but maybe it’s helping her grow and bringing her life more in line with the kind of generous and sacrificial life that Jesus lived. (And I would definitely argue that if we don’t know how to use Aunt Maude’s $300 a year to help make a difference connected with our cause then a greater issue exists.)
- Build genuine life-long relationships with people, period. Even if they don’t give financial gifts, a genuine investment into another person’s life is never wasted inside the kingdom of God. Jesus built relationships with many people who had nothing in return to offer him. The end result? Transformation for them.
- Finally, God's metrics are differet than those of this world. As we live and work in this life, we must remember that, first and foremost, we are called to walk as Jesus did, and that what we do is ultimately playing out for an audience of One.
Call me naïve but I just believe that things should be different. I don’t think biblically-based development means simply praying, and then going out and implementing secular practices of raising money.
How about you? What do you think? Maybe you attended this same workshop?
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