Large-dollar donors, especially, can feel left out of God’s calling. After all, they don’t sense a calling to go out and evangelize to the unreached tribes in Africa. They don’t have the gift of preaching. They can feel unfulfilled in trying to teach the bible to others.
Many churches exacerbate this insecurity by speaking only of ministry work in terms of vocational ministry.
Yet, those who support the work of God through their financial resources are as much a part of the Kingdom-work as any. God blesses people differently and uses all of us who follow Him in different ways.
Many wealthy men and women have sacrificed much to build businesses that not only make it possible for them to give large gifts to ministries, but also create jobs, where families can also take part in giving to Kingdom work.
So it is a special calling to those responsible to steward a larger portion of God’s resources. Ministries need to recognize this unique calling and view those who invest in such a way, less as donors and more as partners.
However, overwhelmingly today, ministries take their financial partners for granted. They assume that because the donor understands that their work is “real ministry,” they will be satisfied to continue their support so long as the regular e-newsletter continues to shoot out regularly. After all, if they spend all their time building relationships with donors, when will they have the time to focus on their ministry work?
The thinking that financial partners are valued only for the money they contribute is a mistake. That’s because every gift they give is actually a piece of their heart.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
Donor sentiment about being obligated to give is changing. A large part of my work is meeting with the financial partners of ministry organizations. In one meeting I had with a financial partner whose annual contributions amounted to more than half of the ministry’s annual budget, they shared the following:
“We want to feel like partners-in-ministry. However, we feel more like we’re in a co-dependent relationship with spoiled children whose only contact with us is when they need more money. Unless we see a change in mind-set among ministries that we value the relationship, our support will continue to diminish in favor of those who do.”
Taking partners for granted can be your ministry’s undoing.
However, it’s never too late to refocus and implement small, but meaningful strategies that help rebuild relationships with your partners. Start with a simple phone call or handwritten note to do nothing else but say, “thank you!”