Jim Harries had me from hello.
Even the title of his post on the Lausanne Global Conversation site–Biblical Giving, Holding Donors Accountable–is about the best five word summary of why Biblical fundraising and development is–and must be–different than any secular fundraising approach.
- In secular fundraising, the trendy battle cry these days is “Hold nonprofits accountable!”
- In Biblical fundraising, the core truth has always been that the giver must be held to account–namely, to carry out that which God commands the giver to do in relation to the causes and attendant courses of action He explicitly commends.
Lest Christian fundraisers cheer too quickly, though, Harries notes that they more than anyone bear a primary sort of accountability, one which, tragically, they exercise all too rarely. The result?
An ethics fail which happens in broad daylight every day.
These days we have many charitable specialists in the West. That is, those who act as ‘middle men’ between the conscience-stricken and the poor. Their raison d’être obliges them to promote and defend the notion that ‘giving’ is both helpful and effective in impact. Yet they themselves are not ‘givers’ in the normal sense of the word, because the ‘giving’ they do is of the money of others, from which their own incomes have already been extracted. This unfortunately leaves them suspect. These ‘middle men’ can be accused of profiteering from the maladies of others. Their self-interest often has them promote strategies against poverty that are actually oriented to the perpetuation of their own activities.
Responsibility for the ethics of giving is delegated to the above group. Those who give to the middle-men have to trust that they pass on their funds in an appropriate way.
From a Transformational Giving standpoint we’d say it like this:
- The role of the Christian fundraiser is to be the lead giver to the cause.
- This leadership is drawn from knowing, doing, and teaching what the Bible calls all Christians to do in relation to the cause.
- In other words, Christian fundraisers are not solicitors of funds but player-coaches of giving.
- They encourage others to imitate their actions, not merely respond to their solicitations.
Sum it up and say:
If you seek to be good at Christian fundraising, let it be through growing into the fullness of Christ in relation to your cause and then coaching others to imitate that same maturity. Let it not be because you learned tools, techniques, and strategies that made it possible for you to solicit like the pros.