(Donor) Love doesn’t seek its own interests
This is my last post (for now) about the FIRST principle of Disciple-Centered Fundraising, which is to love your donor. We’re looking at this principle through the lens of Paul’s beautiful description of love in the first letter to the Corinthians. “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous...it does not seek its own interests.”
Isn’t the purpose of fundraising for our own parish or organization’s self-interest? Aren’t we trying to raise money for the programs we want to start, for the people we’re trying to help, for the ministry we’re trying provide?
No. That is not the purpose. Let me say it again. The purpose of Disciple-Centered Fundraising is first to walk with your donors and parishioners on their stewardship journey. Your ministry orientation is outward-facing, toward that donor.
Your job is to help people encounter Christ, notice His abundant gifts for them, and stoke their desire to develop and share those gifts as God is calling them to do.
What I’m going to say next is fairly radical. God might be calling your donors and parishioners to give elsewhere. And it’s OK to rejoice in their giving! It’s even OK to help them find a way to fulfill God’s inspirational call to give with something that your ministry or parish is doing (internally) or externally with another ministry or parish that is a better match.
Let’s be clear. Your parish or ministry should have well-developed plans and programs. That’s a given. As a Disciple-Centered Fundraiser, you should be able to clearly and concisely present the needs, program outcomes, and giving opportunities within your organization. But, your ultimate job is to help your donor listen to God’s soft whisper and offer the resources and assistance to help them fulfill God’s plan—wherever the gifts may go.
That’s how you love your donor as a Disciple-Centered Fundraiser. You seek their interests above your own. You use your knowledge and connections and creativity to help your donor get to heaven.
What does this look like in practice? Recently, one of my clients, a domestic violence shelter, received a phone call from another non-profit, a low-income childcare provider, in our community. The director of the childcare nonprofit arranged a luncheon with the director of the shelter to introduce her to a potential donor and volunteer with a passion for ending domestic violence. What a bold act of love and respect for that donor!! It was a kind, simple, selfless, and life-enriching action that created trusting relationships.
As Disciple-Centered Fundraisers, this is how we act—not in our self-interest, but in the donor’s interest—whether or not our parish or ministry can answer’s God’s call for that donor. We do this joyfully…. witnessing the Holy Spirit at work.
If you found this post useful, please pass it along to your colleagues and friends and head over to giving-focus.com to subscribe for updates. Next time we’re going to begin exploring five common misconceptions of Parish Stewardship, starting with misconception number 1: Every time the pastor talks about stewardship, he’s asking for my money.