“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
This is an incredible statement.
Maybe it is because of the times we live in right now, the job we do as development officers and leaders, or maybe it is just me. But do you feel it too? Fear feels ever present.
John reminds us in this verse that we don’t have to fear. That things can be different. That love drives out fear.
This is a big deal, because often it feels like fear is driving us out instead of love driving out fear. We think:
- What if I don’t raise enough money? We will close our doors.
- What if nobody answers the call? We won’t have enough.
- What if I can’t make the numbers work? I’ll be out of a job.
Did you know that, according to researcher Penelope Burk, the average amount of time a development officer stays in his or her job is 16 months? Why?
Is it because we are doing our jobs from a place of fear? Can we find a better way?
Fear Did Not Drive Nehemiah
God called Nehemiah into the ministry of helping his people. To go help his people, he had to ask his employer, the King, to let him leave for a time.
This was not an easy ask, and Nehemiah was afraid before he asked the King. In fact, my Bible says “dreadfully afraid”. But, he did ask.
While fear was present in Nehemiah, it did not drive him. His love was greater than his fear. Love for his people who were floundering and hurting. Love for His God, who was worthy and good. And don’t miss this—love for the King, who would become the first major donor of the project. Love drove out fear.
Don’t miss these two points from this story:
- Nehemiah had earned the right to ask. Because he knew, served, and cared for the King, he was able to ask the King to participate in his passion. Nehemiah honored the King by asking him to join the project.
- God was responsible for the results. Nehemiah was full of fear. But he shared with the King—and when it was all on the line, when he needed the right words—he prayed. God moved the king’s heart toward favor. God funded the project and got the glory.
Let Love Drive Your Fundraising
Like Nehemiah, we do not need to be driven by fear. Our love can drive out the fear that we feel. When we care about the people we call donors, we pursue them, ask about their families and interests, and we pray for them. We respect them enough to ask them to join our vision to bring restoration and life to what is broken.
Our primary job is to allow our passion to overflow into the lives and stories of other people. And then plant a seed or ask for a gift, and leave it to God to move in their hearts.
Change Your Starting Point
Think about what changing your starting point might look like in a practical way. People are not answering your calls or calling you back. Fear feels defeated, but love asks a different question.
Let Love Begin Relationships
Love asks, “How can I reach out and love them?” Love thinks of ways to begin a relationship. Maybe drop by the office with a dozen donuts, send a copy of a book you enjoyed, or email an invitation to a concert.
See Donors as Part of Your Ministry
Let’s rethink what development is honestly about and start to see donors as a major part of our ministry. Your ministry may be radio, homelessness, or education but we all have donors that we can love. Let’s care for them. Pray for them. Plant the seeds that God will bring in with the harvest.
Let's talk about what moving from fear to love in fundraising looks like for you specifically. Just let me know you'd like to talk >>