Each month, The LifeTrends Connection brings you a sample "Thank you note" to send to your supporters. October's letter is below:
Dear George and Laura,
The Apostle Paul, closing his letter to the Philippians, noted that while no other church assisted him with a financial gift, his friends in Philippi had.
Paul noted that they sent "a gift more than once for my needs," then makes an interesting statement: "Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account."
This is a statement we can "bank on," a reminder that all of our gifts bring profit to an account we cannot see our touch. It is an eternal account, one that will always grow.
Your gift brings profit to your account, and we are ever mindful of this. And yet, here on Earth, we are thankful because your gift is being invested in changing lives, and saving lives—another way your gift is bringing profit every day.
Thank you. We appreciate your investment in this work. Every day, we are seeing the fruits of your investment. And I believe one day, we will see even more.
Click here for more of this month's TLC.
The following is a commentary for the CEO or Director of Advancement to include in an E-Blast, Newsletter or other communication. Use as you wish—no credit is due to LifeTrends or Heartbeat International. This is for you to spark ideas, or use "as is."
In our communication with you we often mention new projects and the need for funding. This is nothing new; we can find this concept as far back as the Bible. In the Old Testament, God gave the charge to Solomon to build a temple (I Kings 5:1-6) and in the New Testament, Paul uses a large portion of II Corinthians (Chapters 8 & 9, for starters) to ask for funding.
What is most important in funding any project however, is not the need for funds. After all, God can fund any project He wishes, without our help. Yet, He chooses to use ordinary people to accomplish His purposes.
None other than Paul touches on what is most important, in Philippians 4:16-17: "for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account."
This is a perspective so often missed. Good-hearted organizations can get so caught up in a current need that the priority purpose for giving is to increase the spiritual account of those who give.
In God's economy (according to Paul, an expert!), we have accounts that grow as we give. How this works is not totally clear, but what we do know is something fruitful is taking place that we cannot see with our own eyes.
As we move forward in this mighty endeavor to turn our culture toward life—and to do our part here in (name of city, county or area)—we have financial needs, certainly.
Yet we never want to lose our perspective as we seek to raise the funds necessary to impart positive change. This perspective is a simple one; an understanding that when one gives, it is a spiritual transaction that builds faith and builds a relationship with God.
This concept mattered to Paul, and it matters to us. As we grow as a ministry, we want to always keep in mind that those who contribute grow as well. And we are all stronger because of that growth.
Click here for more of this month's TLC.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
The Board of Directors plays a key role in fundraising; many of its decisions have a direct impact on the overall development plan—and on the amount of funds raised.
Here are two decisions a board must consider if it wants to build a strong financial foundation for the ministry.
Many boards are reticent to hire this person, wondering whether this position is needed or a good investment. If we are looking long-term, this person is a great investment.
A quick note: This person is not simply an events planner. If we utilize our Director of Advancement as only a banquet planner or to work on other events, we are missing the big picture. This person builds relationships with our donors; getting out of the office to spend time with them, get to know them and create long-term connections with the organization. A good Director of Advancement understands that our donors are actually volunteers who give their time at work (and the funds they earn) to our organization to save lives.
The ability to raise funds is not innate. It is part craft, part science. Unless a board is blessed to be full of those who are professionals in this area, batting fundraising ideas around at a board meeting takes a lot of time and rarely yields fruit.
Investing in those who can come in to the organization, assess its needs and assist in crafting a plan for development is a wise decision. My heart breaks for those organizations that try idea after idea, thinking fundraising is about finding the next gimmick or hot idea.
Fundraising is a ministry that connects God's people to God's work. There are gifted Christians who understand this principle and make it their life's work to assist ministries in fulfilling their missions by teaching ways to create these connections. A wise board seeks out the help of these leaders in stewardship practices, who can transform events, design capital campaigns, and show ministries how to implement effective, long-term development plans that are God-honoring, faith-building and effective in laying a strong financial foundation for the ministry.
A board that is committed to making these two decisions will, over time, oversee an organization that is always on an upward trajectory.
Preparing for her workshop on mergers and strategic partnerships at the 2013 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, Vivan Koob was hoping her hard work would pay off in the encouragement and equipping of her fellow pregnancy help leaders.
When it came time for her to present, however, the room didn’t quite fill up as she’d hoped.
But that initial disappointment was long-gone by the time the calendar flipped to 2014, as Vivian’s pregnancy help organization, Elizabeth’s New Life Center in Dayton, Ohio, was in the process of reaping a bountiful harvest from the meagerly attended workshop.
As it turned out, the presentation Vivan was so busy preparing—and the fact that she presented it at Heartbeat’s conference—was the perfect fit for a strategic grant from the Dayton Foundation.
“It really was helpful to have given that talk at the conference,” Vivian said. “The grant itself is not a large grant, and it isn’t the first we’ve received from the Dayton Foundation, but it is going to go a long way to help us develop strategic alliances that will help us become less grant-reliant in the future.”
The grant covers the cost of a consultant whose role is to build strategic alliances with community entities, and promises to open the door to potential partnerships Elizabeth’s New Life Center may never have had the chance to approach otherwise.
Throughout the process, Vivan has also been invited by the Dayton Foundation to share her expertise on mergers with other nonprofits in the area, again setting the table for future partnerships that otherwise may not have been realized.
“This was an exciting grant for us to have received,” Vivian said. “Being able to say that we’d gone through three mergers and presented on the topic at Heartbeat’s conference really helped us to make our case.”
With two representatives from the development team at Elizabeth’s New Life Center slated to lead workshops at the 2014 Heartbeat International Annual Conference in Charleston, S.C., Vivian is hoping for the bountiful harvest to continue.
Hopefully, this year, the harvest won’t come at the cost of a sparse crowd.
Check out the workshops from the development team at Elizabeth’s New Life Center:
Panning for Gold in the Grant Funding Stream, Kima Jude
Development Bootcamp, Debbie Nieport LAS
Book by Kirk Walden
Review by Jor-El Godsey, Vice President
It’s all too easy to get so close to the trees that you miss the forest.
In our world, we can be so focused on the “trees”—day-to-day tasks needed to accomplish our mission—we miss the “forest” that our movement represents.
Kirk Walden, in his freshly printed book, The Wall: Building a Culture of Life in American and Ending Abortion as We Know It, shows us the big picture of how far we’ve come in the pregnancy help movement over our first 40-plus years. Kirk pictures pro-life Americans—specifically those in the pregnancy help movement—as the figurative wall of Nehemiah built to half its height (Nehemiah 4:6).
Moreover, Kirk challenges us all to remember there is half the wall—more of us doing what we do—yet to build!
The Wall is a short, but invigorating read. Kirk, a seasoned advocate for pregnancy help work, deftly weaves the biblical narrative together with a vision for victory!
Click here to read more.
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