Because I’ve done more than a little development and fundraising work, I often get calls asking for counsel on various fundraising initiatives. One of the many positive results of these calls is that even as someone is asking for my advice, I can grasp an opportunity to learn.
A call the other day got me thinking about perspective.
But first, can we be honest here? If so, I must admit that when a ministry has a financial need, it is easy to focus on the funding. I’ve been in development meetings where—with good reason—we zero in on techniques, new initiatives and how to approach this or that person.
This is certainly okay and necessary.
But in the midst of this recent phone call, we—I and a pregnancy help center CEO—got to chatting about the best approach for an “ask.” Again, good stuff. Nothing wrong with this.
At some point however, we both realized we were skipping a step. And this step applies not only to fundraising but to every aspect of what we do as we grow the pregnancy help community.
We forgot the importance of asking one question: “What is it about our work that would motivate you to be a part of our community?”
I’ve been raising funds for pregnancy help centers and related ministries for 25-plus years now and have been involved in enough projects to know it is tempting to focus on the dollars and not the person.
Just like it is easy to focus on the need for a new volunteer, board member or on filling a paid position on our staff. Again, this is fine; it’s just that until we see the motivation behind someone’s interest, we don’t yet have a complete picture of how this person can best join us in changing the world.
Whether we call ourselves a ministry or organization, we are first a community of like-minded individuals with many of the same desires and goals. For instance, we wish to see a culture of life prevail and see lives saved, we want to build families, we want to see men and women healed from a past abortion and we want our patients and clients to have a closer relationship with God.
And usually, there is a particular motivator for each person those who wishes to join our community. For instance, I remember meeting a fellow with an adopted daughter and he asked, “Do you know why I support this ministry?”
I quickly nodded my head and mentioned his adopted daughter and his interest in adoption outreach. Boy, was I smart. Until he shook his head.
“No. The reason I support these folks is because my girlfriend became pregnant while I was in school and I paid for her abortion,” he told me. “That’s why.”
Once I knew his motivation, our relationship grew. His connection with the center he supports grew as well. This all started when he, without being asked, answered the question we must ask and keep asking.
Tweet This: Look beyond the immediate need by asking questions. @KirkWalden #pregnancyhelp #prolife
Whether we are attempting to raise funds or even if we just found a new volunteer who wishes to upgrade our landscaping outside, knowing motivation is important. Because when we know the motivation, we see that the “why” creates a stronger bond with our new friend and co-laborer.
Yes, my friend and I almost overlooked a key step in how to build a relationship with a possible financial partner. Thankfully, we found it again and both of us had a moment of growth.
My guess? There are a lot of life-minded people out there. We see them in our churches, in our small groups and all around our communities. They tell us they like and appreciate what we do.
Perhaps our next step is to ask the question, “What is it about our work that would motivate you to join us?”
The answer to that question may be the start of something big; for our ministry, and open a new path for the person waiting for an opportunity to change the world.