(Donor) Love is Not Jealous
We’re continuing to unpack the first principle of Disciple-Centered Fundraising, which is to love your donor. We’re looking a this 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...”
This is a sensitive topic. It’s sensitive because we’ve all felt it. We have felt both jealousy and envy when we notice one of our donor’s names on the honor roll of another organization. And, it’s especially painful when that gift is at a contribution level higher than what they give to our organization. Ugh. It happens.
But, why does it hurt so much?
St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that sin of envy is “sorrow at another’s good” because we think it leads to a lessening of our reputation or good name.
So, if the good donor gives our ministry $50 and gives another ministry $100, we envy the other ministry because we assume that the difference is a rejection of us… that we are lesser in the eyes of the donor. Maybe we’re afraid that our parish or ministry will lose face.
The sin of jealousy is related. That donor is ourdonor. How could that ministry or parish steal her from us. In this sense, jealousy is a negative emotional intensity that one of our possessions has been taken away.
There are lots of ways that jealousy and envy rear their ugly heads in the world of fundraising. And what it boils down to is that many organizations, ministries, and parishes are tempted feel possessive or entitled to the contributions and people who make contributions and offerings. They become ours… our donors, our parishioners, our volunteers.
But those sins distract us. They keep us wounded and sheepish. And as sins do, they discourage us. They separate us from accompanying donors on their stewardship journeys.
The stewardship journey is the donor’s journey to walk. It is inspired by that donor’s powerful encounter with Christ. As Disciple-Centered Fundraisers, we might get the privilege of walking with that donor, presenting giving opportunities that benefit our parish or ministry, and most importantly, support that donor in discipleship.
And if we walk faithfully with that donor… first honoring what the donor is called by God to do and second representing the giving opportunity to support our parish or ministry, then we can be sure that our efforts build the Kingdom… even if we don’t receive the gift.
So what do we do when we feel jealous or envious? What do we do when we trap ourselves in unending comparison with other ministries or parishes?
Rejoice. That’s the ticket! That’s the solution. We need to rejoice in our donors and parishioners’ efforts to contribute. Next time we’ll reflect on how we rejoice with our donors using Paul’s instruction that “love does not seek its own interests.”