Some say the original purpose of the tithe is to feed (provide for) pastors and to fund the church. What is the purpose of the tithe today?
“God expects us to give not as an afterthought, but as our top financial priority.”, – Alex Cook
Traditional fundraising measures success in terms of meeting targets: amount of money raised, return on investment (ROI), increase in giving and donor data base. All these are not bad, but if these are the only measure of success, then we are merely transactional and not transformational fundraisers.
Success then is measured in our personal spiritual growth and having our seed bag full in order to sow seeds in the hearts of donors. Success is measured in terms of donors growing in their relationship with God and putting their relationship with money and resources in its correct place. It leads to generous giving, as they grow in their stewardship.
Start each day with a prayer for God to lead you and be sensitive to the correction of the Spirit. Ask him to fill your seed bags that you may have enough to sow for the day. Meditate on the word of God and seize every opportunity to share this with every donor you meet.
One plants, another waters, but eventually, it is God who brings the increase. As you grow yourself to be a faithful steward, it will create what Scott Rodin calls trajectories in your work, organization, and the world. In other words, fundraisers are sowers of God’s truth. Transformational fundraising grow stewards who are rich towards God. The more we sow, the more we can see increase and success in our fundraising.
Gary is the fundraiser in a graduate seminary, he treats every donor with the same value and respect. He gives each one of his donors, the same quality time, no matter how much they contribute. He would regularly visit donors, pray with them and minister to their needs. You would think that this is not practical because you have learned that major donors deserve more personal and special treatment and those giving less can just receive mass marketing communication. Well, not for Gary because he looks at every donor as stewards of God who needs encouragement in their journey of faith and giving. The result is more people growing in their relationship with God and their resources. That, to Gary is the real success in fundraising!
Do you think those people will start talking about Gary and his seminary? Sure enough, the more those donors realize that Gary is more concerned about their person and their spiritual growth, rather than treat them as sources of funds, the more committed they become to the work of Gary and his school.
At the end of the day, God will not ask what we have produced and accomplished but rather how fruitful we are. If you are called into the ministry of fundraising, the measure of your success is the fruitfulness of your seed sowing and of course your own spiritual maturity in all areas as a steward of God.
We all have a radically generous God. It’s not impossible to begin building a culture of generosity when God is the source! He will supply!
How can we grow faithful stewards in the church? Follow God’s way and begin to plant your life and become the first faithful steward, then let God take over!