The Executive Director as a FUND RAISER
By Steve Burger, President
International Union of Gospel Missions
I recently spoke at a meeting of a Christian Development Officers meeting on the subject ''The Role of the Executive Director in Fund Raising.'' In a day when we think of' professional fund raisers, or desire that someone else will do if, we can forget that the Executive Director has a key role to play in the whole area of image and fund raising in rescue ministries.
The first thing the Executive must do is set before the Christian community a "vision'' for rescue. It is the leader that must articulate the goals of the mission. No one else can tell the story better than we can. The ''excitement'' of the ministry must be set from the top.
I have never believed that it was my job to raise money. I believed that it was my job to share "what God was doing, and it was His job to do the rest.'' But I must share that message. In order to do that I must give priority to meeting people, and sharing the work.
When I was the lone staff member of the mission in York, Pa. I found I had no time to share anything with anybody. I could spend all my time working with the men, and still riot get done. I had to discipline myself to leave the mission two hours every day and go out and make visits, even if it meant that I drove the truck at night. I would make lists of pastors, business people, etc. that I should visit, and I took the time to do it.
I went not just to raise money, but as a servant, honestly sharing what we at the mission could do for them, and asking theni what additional needs we could meet. From this came speaking engagements, and additional contacts as well as new names for the mailing list. Everytime anyone gave me their business card, I wrote on the back on what basis I got it, and kept it in the file for future reference. And of course I added them to the mailing list.
I became involved in my community, joined the Rotary Club, served in ''servant'' roles in many organizations but never forgot why I was there or who I represented. One friend once said ''Burger's just like the yellow pages. lie's always selling.'' I try to have newsletters iii my pocket wherever I am, always have a story about the work, as well as a financial project on the tip of lily tongue.
I learned early that I must use t he local media if I want to cet the message of the mission out. I did regular news releases, including my speaking engagements at local churches, and organizations with the title of the speech, and sometimes even the highlights. When I couldn't get in the dailies I used the weeklies. We still use the weeklies, especially to share the work of board members, and volun teers who live in the area of that weekly.
I never have been good at asking anyone for money, but I have never had a problem sharing what God is doing, and the challenge of the work, and the need to reach broken people for Christ. If I communicate these ideals, do the work, I have found that God has met our needs.Whether or not there are people on the staff responsible for raising funds the Executive Director plays a vital role, and must realize that if the work of the Lord is to grow and people are to be reached, the job of sharing what God is doing is a priority. I am glad I learned that lesson early in my ministry.