Generosity-alive and warm in Your Heart Gives more Effectively when Your Mind is Informed and Discerning - Helping Your Heart

Basic Principles for Dealing with Donors

You need some basic principles for dealing with donors if you run - or work in - a ministry that depends on donations to function.

In May, a few years back, I was privileged to attend a seminar presented by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. (CCCC) I learned a lot, but it is only in studying the printed materials afterward that I get to really make that information my own in a way that I can use.

Lately, I've been mulling over some advice to give to those who send me email after email begging for resources for their ministry in some difficult corner of the world. Going through the manual received at the above seminar, I've picked out some starting notes that I hope can help you, if you are one of those who is desperate to latch on to some generous donors, but your efforts are not very effective.

First, here's a good quote by John Pellow, who is the top CEO of the CCCC;

"If you call your donors partners but treat them like ATMs, you will have a credibility problem." (John Pellow, MBA, DMin, and CEO of CCCC).

(ATM refers to the banking machines we have all become familiar with in North America, where you stick in your banking card, key in your private ID pin number, and then you can deposit or withdraw money from your account.).

How to Care for Your Donors;
1. Have a sincere interest in their welfare.
2. Offer to pray for them - and really pray then too.
3. Watch how you talk about your donors - don't turn them into ATMs.
4. Treat them properly according to law and Christian values.
5. Honour their donor designations - if they indicate any.
6. Provide them with a receipt if you can.
7. Answer their questions.
8. Don't oversell your project or paint it bigger than it is.
9. Be prepared to explain your ministry and show what it is doing - or going to do.
10. Don't fail to report the results.
11. Know that God is at work in your donors' lives even if it does not include YOUR ministry. (They may have other passions and commitments.)
12. The most willing donors are often the ones with the least resources - do not hound them (or they will feel bad and ignore you, or become angry)
13. Be aware that even people like you with great and worthy ministry needs can grow covetous and envy what others have.
14. It is far better to trust God, not your donors to come through for you!
15. Don't honour the donors with the big gifts more than the small ones; only God knows how much they had to give and how generous they really are in spirit.

When you recognize donors publicly, you don't have to name them. It is best if you thank them privately, but publicly you just give thanks to God for 'A donor,' or 'The donors,' who gave so that you could carry on your ministry.

There is plenty of material above for a number of articles that go into more detail. I'll see if I can get to that some time in the future.

If these ideas raise new questions in your mind, browse around on this site. You may just find the answers. Check the Articles Index, the Givers Index, (real examples), the Ideas/How-tos Index, and Worthy Causes Index

Let me know your thoughts and questions on giving in response to these articles.

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada