by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
It's not a stretch to say that Nehemiah was an expert fundraiser. We just don't think of him in this way, because his heart for God and his people, and his passion for the project of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem takes precedence in our minds.
Quick note: What if those we approach regarding funding viewed us first as having a heart for God and his people? And what if another of the key characteristics they see in us is our passion for the mission we serve? Aren't these worthy attributes for us to pursue? To that end, what if those we ask see our role in development as secondary (or "thirdondary," to make up a new word)?
Actually, it is Nehemiah's heart and his passion that made him a great fundraiser. In keeping with this, he built on this foundation with two more sterling traits. First, he was a man of prayer.
When he first heard the news regarding Jerusalem's wall, Nehemiah broke down in tears (Neh. 1:4). His next step? Prayer. In his narrative (Neh. 1:5-2:2), Nehemiah notes that this time of prayer lasted about four months. After this time, he was prepared when King Artaxerxes asked, "Why is your face sad though you are not sick?"
Because he had spent months in prayer, when the king asked of Nehemiah's need, he had a ready answer. Though he was scared, Nehemiah asked with clarity and conviction. Oh, and he asked big, too.
Nehemiah didn't just ask for a few days off to go see about a wall. His time in prayer had given him a clear picture of exactly what would be needed to complete his project. In just a short audience with the king, Nehemiah asked for:
A good development plan is a specific one. And that plan also includes all that is needed to complete a project.
An example of this in a pregnancy help ministry might be if we are asking for an ultrasound machine to commit to a medical model. If we are in this situation, asking for the machine is only a portion of the project.
Are we also asking for funds for training, staffing, renovation, insurance and materials? And almost always forgotten, are we also asking for the funds to properly market our new initiative in the community (after all, what good is an ultrasound machine if we are not letting people know of our new service)?
Let's pray. Then, let's clearly ask for all we need to complete a project. This model is as old as the Old Testament's Nehemiah. And, it works.
Click here for more of this month's Advancement TLC.
We can speak with clarity and conviction regarding a need of our organization, and our potential financial partner may be excited about giving to our work. This in itself however, does not mean we will ever receive a gift, unless we do one more thing:
Clearly state how to give.
"Oh, we do that," someone might tell me. The evidence however, tells me something different. The truth is, one possible reason for financial challenges is because we do not clearly say, "This is how to give to us."
The Apostle Paul wrote a tremendous fundraising letter in II Cor. 8-9. Read those two chapters and you will find how to state a case for support with clarity. But he also knew to clarify how to give. Read I Cor. 16:1-3 and we will find a perfect, simply stated "how to" from Paul:
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, the no collections be made when I come. And when I arrive, whomever you may approve, I shall send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem. (NASB)
Paul outlines where the gift will be used, when the gift will be collected, the amount one should consider ("as he may prosper"), and how to deliver the gift. All in just a few sentences.
One area where we can fall short is on reminding donors of pledges. After a fundraising dinner, does your organization put a letter in the mail within one week of the event, thanking guests for making a commitment and also stating the details of that commitment? In my experience, less than 50 per cent of pregnancy help organizations do this.
Another area? Read our communications (newsletters, e-blasts) for the previous year. How many times have we reminded potential donors of exactly how to give? We will place an envelope and a response device in with a newsletter, but it is important that we also tell readers (at least once a year) why the envelope is included.
"How to give" seems obvious. Yet, Paul took the time to make sure and lay out the process in his first letter to the Corinthian church. We can, too.
Special Note: See this month's CEO Commentary for an example.
CEO CommentaryAdvancement Trends in the Life Community offers you this article to place in an e-blast or newsletter. Feel free to use this as your own, no attribution is necessary for this article:
Our newsletters and online communications often tell you of our latest projects and initiatives at (Name of Organization), and many times we will ask you to join us financially.
Every once in a while however, it is important that we communicate to you exactly how you can support this vital work—and be a key part of our team, from a financial standpoint.
If you would like to give a financial gift, here are three ways you can do so:
OnlineOur financial partners' site is (web address here). Here, you can make a one-time gift or join us as a monthly financial partner.
Write a checkEnclosed with this newsletter is an envelope for your convenience. Place the check in the envelope and if you would like to make yours an ongoing, monthly gift, write "monthly" on the "for" section of the check.
Give a gift of stockYour appreciated stock may be a gift that also brings large tax savings. Call (name) at 000-0000 at our office and she will help you with this type of gift, or call our broker, (name) at (name of brokerage firm and phone number), and she will provide you with our account information.
Our financial partners provide the foundation for the amazing growth we are seeing at (name of organization). Your gifts are making a difference in saving lives, and changing lives; every day.
Note: You may want to add wills, trusts, events and more. These are just three "starter" avenues of giving to be placed in our communications.
Click here for more of this month's Advancement Trends in the Life Community.
Click here to download this CEO Commentary as a word document.
Each month Advancement Trends in the Life Community brings to you a "thank you letter" that you can send to your donors. March's letter is below:
Dear Barney & Betty,
The Apostle Paul makes an interesting statement as he closes out his letter to the Philippians, thanking the church at Philippi for being the only church to make a contribution to his work. In thanking the church, he writes, "Not that I seek the gift itself, but the profit which increases to your account."
A dynamic takes place when we give; a transaction whereby our "account" grows as we give toward those endeavors which honor God. I don't pretend to understand the intricacies of this account of which Paul writes, but we don't have to.
What we do know is that as we give, we see spiritual increase in our lives. We may not be able to see or touch it, but it is real.
So often when we thank you for a gift, I want to point out where your gift is going and how it will assist those we see. This is important, certainly.
Yet, I never want to forget that your gift shows me that you want to grow spiritually, too. So as we say "thank you," I also want to echo Paul's words and seek "the profit which increases to your account."
Thank you. Your gift makes a tremendous difference in this work, and I am just as thrilled to see the treasure you are placing in your "account" grow as well.
Click here to download this thank you letter as a word document.
Servants of Excellence
"I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling." I Cor. 2:3
What is it in this work that makes you fearful? Is it standing in front of a group, presenting on behalf of the ministry? Is it sitting in front of an intimidating patient or client, wondering how to respond to a question or how to best speak to her heart?
The Bible has news for those of us who are fearful at times: It's okay.
People can intimidate us; situations can, too. These are both natural results that come from stepping out of our comfort zones and relying upon God. The Apostle Paul knew this feeling well. When he first approached the Corinthians, he admits, "I did not come to you with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God."
Instead, Paul tells them he wanted to put forth the simple message of the Gospel, and he did so "in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."
There is a major point in Paul's writings here: While we may be fearful at times, our willingness to press on with whatever God calls us to do has the ability to demonstrate God's power in and through each of us.
If we enter any bookstore we can find a plethora of books on self-confidence, or on how to effectively persuade others. This isn't to criticize these books; they certainly have their place.
But . . . sometimes it is perfectly within God's will to be fearful and perhaps tremble a bit, too. When we are fearful—and are willing to admit such as Paul did—our audience (whether one client or hundreds of people) can easily identify with us.
Paul had fears. But instead of letting those fears dictate his life, he decided to be open and honest about those fears so that he could press on with the message he was called to share.
If we are ever afraid in this life-saving work then, this is hardly a bad thing. In fact, our fears remind us that we share a special bond with one of the greatest apostles. And, we can take heart in the truth that our fear can be an avenue for showing the mighty power of God in each of us.
Web Design and Development by Extend Web Services