With the end of the year approaching, you are in a unique position for your ministry. I’d even go so far as to say the strongest position you could possibly be in come December.
If anyone has giving decisions remaining to make before now and the end of the year, they are likely to find they have more to give than they realized.
That sounds great, right?!
Not so fast.
As a new leader, it’s easy to feel like you’re standing at a mic, tapping it, and asking someone – anyone – “Is this thing on?” Giving potential only matters, only comes into play as potential, once you have donors’ attention.
During our time together, I want to use the promise of good spoken over our lives in Jeremiah paired with advice for emergent leaders, to apply in order to end the year strong.
1. Ask, “why?”
The first thing I challenge emerging leaders to really think about for those with apprehension about raising money or fundraising, as many call it, is to take time praying and thinking. Take time to settle, as much as possible, into an understanding with God and from God, for why you are doing this.
Why are you actually raising money? Why do we, as a collective of development professionals, say we need to raise money?
Challenge yourself. Firstly, look at the mission of your organization. Whether you’re taking on an entire mission or a segment, look at the mission statement. You will gain many insights, yet hopefully notice the mission statement says nothing about raising money.
Pause, or if need be, take a step or two back. Why did you get involved? Why do you believe God has called you? Why is your work important?
Your job, your calling, is not about raising money; it is about seeing something specific happen in the lives of people you serve. Money is simply fuel for action through His people.
Ministries today don’t have a resource problem – they have a people problem. You must be able to articulate the potential impact your ministry can have to people so God will move upon His people to take action.
Moses presented the plan for the tabernacle to the people of God. It doesn’t say Moses went out and said, “Hey, we need to raise a bunch of money. God has made a big deal about how much money we raise, and we have got to raise all of this money to do this tabernacle.” No, he presented the plan. Literally, he showed the blueprints and then spoke about what was needed. Then, each person, as their heart was stirred, brought what was needed for the work.
2. Stop using the word fundraising.
I have never met a soul who got into development because they enjoy fundraising.
Stop talking about the fundraising. Start focusing on the role of being a leader.
An effective leader will grow over time, as will their skill for engaging people to give.
I’ve never seen an ineffective leader who could raise a lot of money. This person does not exist. I have seen some very effective leaders who think raising money is somehow separate from the role of leadership; these leaders in effect become ineffective.
The more you realize developmental leadership is not some special cape or suit you don when the situation arises, the better.
3. Realize authenticity happens naturally.
Especially with the newest generation of emergent leaders, I say: do not put a high amount of effort into being authentic. It is not what drives givers to give.
Your part is simple and limited. Be authentic about your work, God’s work through you, and what it truly takes to do the work. Ask people to think and pray, consider how they may be involved or how they might give specifically.
You, as a human, cannot turn a non-giver into a giver. Only the Spirit can do a work in another’s heart.
As a leader, what you’re looking for is givers. Givers have a very peculiar behavior. They actually give. They want to make a difference.
Your role as a leader is to help givers see where the difference they yearn to make can be made and show them how they can have the greatest impact.
You might start with, “Here is what God is calling me to do, here is the plan we have, here is what I am excited about … but to do this is going to take resources beyond just me working, beyond putting my time and effort into this. It is going to take some people partnering with me to do this, and here is what I am asking you to do. Will you think and pray about this? I will follow up and keep you updated about how things progress along the way.”
I look forward to hearing how this helps you wrap up your year with intention and impact!
If you haven’t yet created a Strategy Statement, this is a great place to start! Click here to download our Strategy Statement Tool.