Once you’ve identified champions who have completed the Searching Scripture worksheet you created (from the sample we provided in a previous post), you’re ready for the next step in the transition from individual to corporate coaching of champions:
Gather all of them together – whether it be in-person, over a conference call, or with video teleconferencing over the web – to identify the ten most pressing questions about your cause/Work of Mercy raised by their study of Scripture.
The reason why you want ten questions (and not answers…or even statements), is because, as you’ll see in a moment, each question is going to become a crucial element in a year-long learning process.
But first, let’s talk nuts and bolts.
We suggest making this a two-hour meeting, facilitated by you, the nonprofit leader. Keep in mind that even while the nonprofit leader is holding this meeting and the nonprofit is acting as the platform for the champions to convene and talk to each other, the nonprofit leader is not there to provide answers or stump for money for the nonprofit. In fact, you are there to act as a fellow learner, even while giving structure to the meeting itself.
As the leader, attention should be given to keeping the discussion on track and helping people to identify the lenses they are wearing (as a result of their tradition, experience, reason or revelation) so that they can relativize them and put them back under the authority of Scripture.
When our fictitious ABC Mission went through this process, the following ten questions were identified as the most pressing:
- How can we dispel the fear of homeless people that many have in our city?
- Should money be given to the homeless when they can use that money to purchase drugs, alcohol, etc.?
- How can the homeless become gainfully employed?
- What should be done about homeless panhandling and the problem it creates for local businesses?
- How can the health of the homeless in our area be preserved without creating either dependence or enormous debt?
- How can the homeless get plugged into a church community?
- Is there a way for the homeless in the area to become productive members of society?
- What is the best help an average family can give to a homeless person?
- What help can be offered to a family that is on the brink of homelessness?
- How can the strengths, education, leadership, work ethic, and experiences of the homeless serve both their own and our community’s interest?
These ten questions form the agenda of a monthly two-hour meeting with these same champions – one question per month. You’ll want to ask champions to commit to:
- Coming to the meeting (or calling in, or logging on, etc.)
- Doing the preparation required before the meeting.
You’ll be tempted to bypass this process saying, “Oh, this is way too much work. None of my champions will even want to do this. Instead, I’ll hold a cheese and wine event and people will give me millions that night.”
First of all, that won’t happen, and you know it.
Second, these days, people are actually more likely to respond to requests for high commitment that results in their own personal transformation.
In her post titled Science of Giving 3: Do people give more if it’s painful?, Katya Andresen summarizes research from the book, The Science of Giving. While most of us are inclined to believe that giving is done with a sort of “looking out for number one” mentality, Katya points out that just the opposite is often true. The martyrdom effect (no insignificant language there) is the belief, from much research, that people often most value things that are difficult to achieve.
This means that, for us, they are more likely to enter into a demanding and involved process than a wine and cheese soiree…provided that they get to participate in a cause they care deeply about and that they will be able to grow as a result.
And this goes back to your job as the nonprofit leader that this is about the transformation of your champions. If you haven’t strong-armed anyone into this process, it should be no problem.
And as you’ll see in the next post, those monthly meetings are not only powerful, productive, and a lot of fun; they’re also the key to this learning process “going viral,” as through your modeling of the process, champions become equipped to undertake this same process with others in their own sphere of influence.
Special thanks to .W’s Jesse Medina and Memphis Leadership Foundation’s Larry Lloyd for raising the fundraising pirate flag with me to make this mini-series possible!