Paul's Tip: Explain How to Give

by Kirk Walden, Advancement SpecialistGiveMoney

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.

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