Recently, I was asked to review a book, Keeping Faith in Fundraising, by Peter Harris and Rod Wilson. So, when asked to write on faith and fundraising, I thought of that book. The authors aimed not at writing a how-to manual for Christ-followers; instead, they challenged readers to think about “why” fundraising looks different or should be different for us. With a similar aim, I want to invite Christians everywhere to consider three thoughts related to the “why” of fundraising.
- The world says you are the fundraiser for the ministry you serve. When we integrate faith and fundraising, we realize that God is the Fundraiser, not us. We are sowers.
Early in my career I thought I was the fundraiser or provider for the organization I served. That thinking brought unnecessary stress into my life. Only when I realized that God is the Provider of all things for our enjoyment and sharing did I flourish (see 1 Timothy 6:17-19). My role was to sow biblical truths in the lives of stewards to help them grow in generosity. I also had to leave the results up to God. Once I understood this, my anxiety diminished. I was energized to do my part, and God did His. He supplied in a timely way, like manna, through faithful givers (see 2 Corinthians 8:13-15).
- The world does fundraising to get money from people. When we integrate faith and fundraising we aim at giving something to people: the opportunity to participate in God’s work.
Those who do fundraising “to get money” are afflicted with “the love of money.” Biblically speaking, a lover of money is a person who thinks money solves problems. When this perspective shapes fundraising, supporters deduce, “all that ministry wants is my money,” because they get bombarded with appeals. Think about it. Money does not solve problems, God does. No wonder lovers of money are disqualified from overseeing God’s work (see 1 Timothy 3:3). Our role is different. We get to teach people to live simply and show God’s love through generous sharing (see 1 Corinthians 16:1-4).
- The world uses fundraising tactics to manipulate greater giving. When we integrate faith and fundraising we shift from “closing” gifts with sales pitches to “opening” givers with questions.
Tactics seek to compel people to make financial gifts. God desires that we give not out of compulsion but cheerfully and willingly (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). He does not need our money; He wants our hearts. So, how do we help people grow spiritually? We ask questions, like, “How has God blessed you to be a blessing?” As people of faith, when we sow biblical truths, teach people to give, and ask questions, fundraising moves beyond raising up gifts to raising up givers who are rich toward God.
Has this post got you thinking? Perhaps read the review: Questions for thoughtful Christian fundraisers to ponder and check out a book I co-authored with R. Scott Rodin, The Sower: Redefining the Ministry of Raising Kingdom Resources.