The more I’ve learned about the brain, psychology, and humanity in general, the more I see a pattern. People generally don’t feel like doing things.
Getting up early. Sticking to a diet their physician recommended. Deciding not to watch the next binge episode in the Netflix cue.
There are many things we need to do that we simply don’t want to do.
Scripture touches many times on the constant struggle between our emotions and our will; the answer isn’t to feel less emotional – but to align the two. This is a process.
Some of the most amazing things God does are those things we never would have had the foresight to plan. It’s rare that God brings an opportunity without a path for you to discern.
So here’s the real kicker: How do we align emotions and will when it involves a difficult donor?
It’s not unusual for exceedingly successful, capable people who are givers to bring with them significant or at least an unusual level of dysfunction. Whether it’s in their life or in their family or maybe even their personality – it’s not the norm, but it’s not uncommon.
Often people who have the most capability to help bring with them very unusual ministry opportunities. Don’t look past them; partner with them.
Rick Warren, a pastor and leader I feel comfortable saying many of us are familiar with, refers to these people as EGR. Extra grace required. If you can recognize that the first and foremost requirement as a follower of Christ is the responsibility to show grace and love, not the vision and mission statement – you’re headed in the right direction.
When we look past the money a difficult donor may be able to give and the impact their funding can have on our ministry, we see the impact disciplined, gracious, firm leadership on your part may have on him or her.
As development professionals, you cannot operate at the level you do with people who are capable of helping you for good if you can’t also grow muscles of patience and discipline in prayer with humility.
The only way to avoid the challenges a difficult donor brings is to not have to raise money.
So what do we do? We stay grounded in faith and God’s ability to move no matter what. Ask these questions and move forward.
- Can the person help you and your organization? Do they seek to come alongside us or profoundly harm us?
- What’s the worst that could happen? He or she doesn’t give. If they’re not the one, God will send another to those who steward His plans well.
My mom always said, “Don’t go to Golgotha on a cheap cross.”
In other words, pick your battles. Don’t lose donors for the wrong reasons. I believe you can lose every donor you have and be okay if the loss is for the right reason.
The challenge only the Lord can help you with is this: discerning if your reasons for avoiding the difficult donors are from your fears or founded.
Spend time with the Lord. Let Him do what only He, our Father, and Holy Spirit can do: bring alignment.
For more insight and encouragement directly and personally from Zach via text, click here.