A few weeks back I listened to a podcast on This American Life that explored the subject of political fund raising. Specifically they focused on how much time Senators and Congressmen spend on fund raising. It is a shocking amount of time!
Donor development, and actual fundraising events, are a regular part of a normal day for the men and women leading our country. Some estimate as much as 80% of their job is related to raising funds. It’s crazy to think that 4 out of every 5 minutes of their day they spend raising money to keep their job where 4 out of 5 minutes of every day is spent raising money .
While I think there’s a better way for politicians to spend their time, I would agree that a portion of their time has to be spent raising money. That got me thinking, what percentage of a lead pastor’s time is spent on donor development? What should it be?
In most churches I don’t think it’s on the radar at all, at least not until it’s time for a capital campaign for new church buildings or to reduce debt.
Is that the best we can do with and action that is critical to high impact ministry?
How many times do you think a high capacity donor has lunch with a pastor before the big ask comes? I bet the average is close to zero. I’m not saying that you should be getting your palm greased everyday. I’m also not saying that you should be insincere in developing influence with people. What I am saying is, if the vision is compelling, and you plan on seeing it become a reality, you have to make an investment in the people who can fund it. Then, when the time comes, they know your heart and they’re on board.
Every ounce of God’s vision for your church, and much more, can easily be funded with the money your church already has. Right now the money for that vision just happens to sit in the accounts of people in your church instead of the church accounts.
If it’s God’s vision, and not your own, that should make it easier to ask people to get on board. They aren’t helping you. You’re just the messenger. To fund God’s vision you have to become skilled in coaching people to new levels of generosity. For that to happen you’re going to have to give more of yourself to the vision. You have to take risks in conversations with people. You have to find a comfortable level of discomfort in having conversations with people. And yes, you’re going to have to tell a compelling story and make a face to face ask when the time is right.
Understand this, the product of your efforts is someone’s salvation. The Bi-product of those efforts is everything that comes to the person who stretches them selves to be more generous.
Stop right now and get a person’s face in your mind. Someone you hope comes into relationship with Christ before its too late.
You got it? Fill in the blanks with their name.
Is ____ worth creating a compelling story around your God given vision? Is ____ worth strategically speaking on giving throughout the year? Is ____ worth an investment in high capacity donors who can help you realize the vision? Is ____ worth putting your pride on the line? Is ____ worth being rejected by people you thought you had influence with? If ____ isn’t worth it who is?
The only people who get angry when you speak about money are the people who feel guilty about what they aren’t giving. Will you risk their approval for ____?
Helping people, high or low capacity donors, grow in their generosity is one of the best things you can do for them. If you spent the rest of your life motivating people to reorganize their finances to put God first you will not have wasted your life.
Is it worth your time?
So what percentage of time should a pastor spend on donor development?