Book Review: Growing Givers' Hearts


Here's my simple summary: if you are Christian who fundraises, this books is for you.  If you are working for an organization that regards fundraising as a necessary evil, you might need to buy more than one copy! I have been recommending this book on Christian fundraising for over a decade now.  Its message on Christian fundraising as ministry still rings true.  It's hard to underestimate how influential this book has been for me.  Really I could file this one under self-help: it helped me realize I was not crazy for wanting to connect fundraising and theology. I found it at a time when resources on the theology of fundraising were scarce.

An early set of my scribbly notes quotes page 10 "We believe that the central goal of a Christian fundraising program should be to help its donors' hearts grow bigger." Fundraising must connect to the spiritual values of the organization and to the faith of its supporters.  Does your organization believe in God's abundance, that God will provide enough resources to support your ministry?  How would your donors answer that question?  Jeavons and Basinger's chapter on "Confidence in God's Abundance" navigates the scarcity minefield many fundraisers tiptoe through.

I'm grateful to have found this book.  It's still out there on Amazon, enormous wisdom at a modest price.  A classic!

The spirituality of mobile giving


I read everything I can find about fundraising and theology.  I have yet to read anything on the spirituality of mobile giving - please do share if I am missing something! Here's my belief:  the Holy Spirit can guide people who do not have a cheque book (or check book, depending).  We Christian church and charity types should make room for people to give in a variety of ways - including using their smart phone.

Christians believe in the Holy Spirit - God's presence working in mysterious ways.  Theologians have a fancy word for the study of this - pneumatology.

We also believe in promoting generosity, in the spiritual discipline of giving.

Put this together and Christians, more than anyone, should be about making it easy to give.  But we aren't.  Too often we assume potential givers have a cheque book, an envelope and a stamp.  And they don't.

I was at The Pursuit ministry conference last week.  I'm attaching a slide from my workshop on Best Practices for Giving in Churches to make my point.  It applies to any organization: can people donate using their smart phone?

At another workshop, the presenter (Darrell Keezer from Candybox Marketing) offered a box of chocolates to the first person who made a $5 gift to their organization using their phone.  I tried to give to my church but got hopelessly bogged down in the website.  I did not win the prize.

Mobile giving is also about efficiency, social media strategy etc.  There's lots of reasons to embrace it. But for me, it is a theological question at its core: do we want to encourage everyone to give, or only people who have cheque books?