What the world’s funniest joke has to do with your practice of TG


…as in Participation/Engagement/Ownership

…as in the sine qua non of Transformational Giving

…is  is the subject of the free Mission Increase Foundation bi-monthly workshops that I and our Giving and Training Officers will be teaching around the country this month. (Do sign up, hear?)

As I’ve been preparing to teach on this subject in Colorado Springs today, what keeps coming to mind is the world’s funniest joke…and why this has everything to do with Transformational Giving.

In 2002, UK’s Laugh Lab held a contest to determine the world’s funniest joke. 40,000 jokes and 1.5 million ratings later, here’s the winner and still champion:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?”. The operator says “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that same phone call with ministries attempting to implement Transformational Giving.

“We want to do Transformational Giving,” the call goes. “Can you help us develop a Signature Participation Project?”

“Why do you want to start by developing a Signature Participation Project?” goes my reply.

“Because we need a way to acquire a lot of new donors at a low cost who we can then ask to support our ministry.”

(Blam! Gunshot sounds. Ministry returns to phone after shooting champion. “Now what?”)

Dear ministry interested in Transformational Giving:

Please begin with Engagement and work back to Participation. Only when you know what it looks like for a champion to be fully engaged in the cause can you develop a Signature Participation Project as the first step to getting them there.

If you begin by trying to develop a Signature Participation Project and then ask, “Now what do I have them do? And when do I ask them for money?”, you are still mired in traditional transactional fundraising.

See you at the workshop this month. Or if you’re unable to attend, try the book. They say the book’s always better than the movie, anyway.

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 the former 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 What the world’s funniest joke has to do with your practice of TG

  1. debbie bresina says:

    This is a good one Eric. I think D2S has been guilty of “shooting” a few Champions too! We are so excited about the Cause Central engagement project at our conferences that I can hardly wait for the next one to see God work some more. Thanks for sticking with us as we learn.

  2. EFoley says:

    You are a fun group with which to stick!

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