I recently heard this comment, “We just have a small pond of donors.” And, I have to be honest, it really bothered me. What that person, a development officer even, was saying was “The reason we can only do so much is we have limited resources.” I would like to offer, “The reason we do so little is we have limited vision, not limited resources.”
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” It is dangerous to think limiting thoughts and not just because it limits our potential, but more to the core, it limits our God, who wants to move in your world and demonstrate His glory; a glory that will call people to Him. Believe that our God is a God of unlimited resources and unfathomable generosity. We must change this attitude of complacency if we are going to fulfill the mission He has given to us.
Full of Fear or Faith?
Do we want to be a people full of fear or a people full of faith? I believe our passivity exposes our fear; fear to believe for more, fear to ask for more, and fear to do the hard work of dreaming. The verse in Proverbs is straight on to the point. When we think limiting thoughts and quit moving forward, we become what we are today, as good as it gets. When we have a moment to slow down and inhale we can remember this is not about us, not about our organizations even, it is about the work God is eager to do and the task He has entrusted us with.
So let’s start with the ponds that we have and ask God to give us some lakes!
Here is an easy way to get the growth started: begin a culture of sharing names and have an effective system in place to value the information as it comes in.
Our management systems can include methods that purposefully prompt us to gather new names for major gift prospects and properly follow-up with each one. This would be a good cycle for us to model: First we move names into research and introduction. Next we continue with cultivation and move on to request. We need to make sure we always follow with both a sincere thank you and a request for referral. If we are handling contacts correctly we will be able to eliminate individuals from further consideration as appropriate.
It will not happen on its own, so we need to be committed to actively encouraging staff, volunteers, board members and donors to be sensitive to the names of individuals, businesses or foundations that may have gift potential and we should have a form readily available to use, record, and share the names of donor hopefuls.
As we secure new names, we can record them on a “Newly Identified Prospects Report.” It is perfectly acceptable and prudent to review these reports regularly at our staff meetings and to make sure appropriate follow-up is being taken so that our teams can determine next steps for each prospect.
A culture that shares names and values leads does not stay in a pond for long. I look forward to hearing about your lake days very soon!
I would enjoy hearing your response to this blog. If you are interested in talking about your ministry and opportunities for generosity, or if you need assistance in finding your inspiration please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 616-662-1953. Thank you for becoming a part of the conversation!