What makes traditional transactional fundraising (ttf) so appealing when compared to Transformational Giving (TG)? I mean, the very premise of TG–that “followers become something different than they were before the encounter”–is so much more appealing and ennobling on the face of it than the premise of ttf, that we enter into relationships for the sake of furthering objectives we find personally valuable.
Liberty University’s Dr. Michael R. Mitchell, author of Leading, Teaching, and Making Disciples, suggests that the transactional is always more appealing than the transformational because anyone can do it and it’s much easier to succeed at: transactional results, after all, are entirely within the power of the two people effecting the transaction.
[A]nyone can function as a transactional leader, providing information, direction, assistance, and skills that influence others to go somewhere or do something different than they had been previously (p. 12).
But transformation? That is outside of the control of the transactors. That requires humility and submission to God, and following His leading. And even on our best days, we can’t force it to happen.
But ttf can be forced on our bad days, with the right combinations of brochures, websites, relationship skills, and persuasion, transactions can happen anytime we can cobble together a transaction both sides consider fair.
We like transactions, in other words, because they depend wholly on us and on our skills.
Transformation, on the other hand, can only happen when God permits. And that scares the pants off of us, because we’re not entirely convinced that He has the best interests of our organization at heart.