Developing Homegrown Fundraisers Through City Vision Training
by Barbara Clemenson, CPA, CFRE, 2010 (edited 2017)
Fundraising—building relationship with our donors—is the financial lifeblood of our ministries. Yet many of us came to our positions from diverse pursuits, none of which prepared us for the ministry of fundraising.
Nevertheless, we must be successful fundraisers in order to minister to our clients who cannot pay for services themselves.
There are two prerequisites for becoming successful fundraisers: attitude and knowlege. New programs at City Vision University can help us become skilled in these areas so we are wise steward-leaders, bringing glory to God with our donors, clients and communities.
Many nonprofit leaders perceive fundraising as a necessary evil: We need money to serve those in poverty, so we actively encourage people to give to us. This fundraising attitude focuses on the bottom line, with its strategies concentrating on financial results.
This is not God's attitude, though. God never focuses on financial development, but rather on individual development. His objective is so aptly captured in Jeavons' and Basinger's book Growing Givers' Hearts. He wants us to be so captivated by His totally transforming work in the lives of men, women and children that we join Him, giving our time, talent and treasure, trusting He will take care of us as we increasingly devote ourselves to Him.
Taking on God's attitude makes fundraisers evangelists. Our job is to effectively tell the story of Jesus and let God grow givers' hearts. City Vision University's fundraising courses help us explore and embrace this godly attitude of ministry to our donors.
Solomon asked God for two things so he might be a good leader—wisdom and knowledge. Both are God-given, but God only bestows them based on our obedience, our desire and our effots to acquire them (the essence of the book of Proverbs). Wisdom is taking on God's attitude: developing people, as discussed above. Knowledge is taking on God's truth.
Fundraising is a mature profession with well-understood principles and ethics God has enabled us to understand. As Claude Grizzard recently stated, "There is nothing new in fund raising: Techniques might change, but the profession is mature." Therefore, we can gain knowledge by learning fundraising principles. City Vision University provides access to that knowledge.
What Does This Mean to Me?
"I work with fundraising partners. We don't need this training."
"I know all I need to know about fundraising. After all, we're operating in the black."
"I can hire whatever specialized help I need."
Agencies and consultants are often critical partners for successful fundraising, but God has placed the stewardship of his donors and His work primarily in our hands, not theirs. It is our responsibility to analyze our own fundraising efforts; develop an overall donor-centered, ministry-permeated, fundraising strategic plan; and, appropriately emply the supplemental outside help best suited to our attitude and objectives. Yet we can only make these wise decisions if we have the necessary fundraising insight.
Increase your wisdom and understanding. Improve your stewardship of your own abilites and those of your ministry staff. Let City Vision University help you "home grow" your fundraisers.
Barbara Clemenson was the original instructor in Financial Accounting and Reporting; Fund Raising Basics and Financial Planning for Nonprofits through City Vision University. She is a former CFO at The City Mission in Cleveland, Ohio, and AGRM mid-east district officer, and is currently an adjunct professor in Nonprofit Management at Case Western Reserve University.
[Edited May 2015, to update the institution's name change; edited 2017, to remove outdated sections]