Common Fundraising Mistakes
Scott Rodin, in his book, The Seven Deadly Sins of Christian Fundraising, lists these seven deadly sins in fundraising: being unprepared for the battle; self-reliance over spirit reliance; money over ministry; unwillingness to invest the time; decision without discernment; activity without accountability; and stealing the glory. He summarizes the seven deadly sins this way:
- Plan and prepare seriously for the battle and commit never to go into your work without being spiritually-prepared.
- Cultivate a spirit of trust and dependence on God for all things.
- Cultivate a ministry mindset in your development work and never let it be unseated as your first and highest calling.
- Build the necessary time into your development planning and do not deviate for the sake of expediency.
- Cultivate a discernment mindset. Commit the time and make it a priority.
- Develop a clear accountability system in your development program at every level and give it authority.
- Have a plan for appropriate ministry partner acknowledgement and staff recognition. Celebrate victories and glorify God above all else.
In the early 90s when I was just starting a career in resource development, I thought that fundraising was all about setting goals, creating strategies, and growing a donor database. Of course, I prayed, but it was more about asking God’s blessings and meeting fundraising targets.
It was only in 1995 when I was converted to biblical stewardship that I realized that fundraising is a spiritual activity. I understood that God uses fundraisers to teach people that God is the owner of all that is in the world, including the money in their pockets!
That a donor who gives away money for a good cause is really saying, “Lord, I am merely a signatory to your checkbook.” What a liberating thought! Fundraising begun to take a new shape with my transformation. I still make plans and set goals, but this time, I pray that God, who is the provider, will touch the hearts of givers.
While Christian fundraising uses some of the techniques and strategies of secular fundraising, it is distinguished by the mindset of the Christian fundraiser that in everything we do, we do it for the glory of God. It thrives in the abundance of God’s grace and resources and believes that there is enough resources to advance His Kingdom work in the world. As a Christian fundraiser, your reliance is on God.
I began to view donors as co-travelers in this journey as a steward and no longer as sources of funds or ATM machines! Ministry to them is more important than money because the money will follow when we grow stewards who are rich towards God.