How NOT to do friend raising

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the showers after I finished teaching the Mission Increase Foundation free workshop on Engagement in Colorado Springs last week.

I had made my usual number of harsh and derogatory comments in the workshop about the school of fundraising known as friendraising (like I’ve done on this blog here, here, here, here, here, here, and, um, here), when what to my wondering eyes did appear Betty Barnett, author of one of the couple books with the title, Friend Raising.

(The other prominent book on the topic, Friendraising, was written by Hildy Gottleib, who has not yet showed up at any of my workshops or flamed my blog. Interestingly, she just made a fabulous post on Ken Berger’s blog–you really need to read it–about how we should be measuring collective improvement in communities rather than individual organizational effectiveness. But I digress.)

Betty was so incredibly gracious  that it didn’t feel near as awkward as most of the rebukes I have received in my life. She noted that she agreed with everything I had taught, that what I had taught was congruent with the principles she wrote about in her book, that we really should be looking for points of commonality and upbuilding rather than difference, that the term “friend” has biblical resonance, and that she would like to ask that in the future I draw a distinction between abuses/misunderstandings of the term “friendraising” and the system she describes in her book.

And then she gave me a copy of her book and indicated she’d like to stay in touch so that iron can sharpen iron.

You can’t ask for a more pleasant Galatians 6:1 moment than that.

So I thanked her for her kindness and indicated that I would of course read the book and share with her and others what I thought.

So this I will do.

By this point you’d think I would have learned to just not say anything at least until I’ve read the book, but…

You know, on the cover the subtitle reads “Building a Missionary Support Team That Lasts”. And in the nicely ample forms that Betty provides in the book’s appendix, there’s a form titled, “Thank you for your support of my ministry!”

One of the apparent differences between Transformational Giving and Betty’s Friend Raising approach (based on my exhaustive study to date of the cover and one of the forms in the appendix) would seem to be that Friend Raising involves the missionary/ministry raising supporters, whereas Transformational Giving involves the missionary/ministry supporting champions to develop their own ministry in the cause in order to help them grow into the fullness of Christ.

Which would explain why Coach Your Champions is subtitled “A parable about how cookies changed ordinary donors into champions” and why my appendix (well, the one in the book, that is, not the one beneath my sternum) has champion coaching forms in it.

I’m just saying.

But of course it would be foolish to judge a book by its cover.

Even if we at MIF are preparing to teach a workshop (in March) on how thanking champions is unbiblical.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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2 Responses to How NOT to do friend raising

  1. John Lee says:

    Wow Eric! I remember reading Betty’s book back in 1992 before I hit the fund/support raising trail with WGM. Glad to know you came through that interaction well. Having read the book, I wouldn’t expect anything but “class” from Betty. May we in the non-profit realm become more effective in developing God’s people as they express a biblical calling.

    • EFoley says:

      I agree, John–even if my suspicions prove to be true that Betty’s Friend Raising approach is indeed quite different from Transformational Giving, her winsome and mature attitude–far more winsome and mature than my own!–definitely will prompt me to give her props in any contrast I might draw between TG and Friend Raising in the future.

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