Ten commandments for development officers reprised

While sorting through some old files the other day, I came across the 1993 pamphlet,”Ten Commandments for Development Officers” by David Hubbard, the then president of Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA). His wise words debuted as the keynote address at a conference on critical concerns in Christian college fundraising. The event was part of a three-year Lilly Endowment-funded project on fundraising effectiveness which was my privilege to direct for the Christian College Coalition (now the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities).

Dr. Hubbard dedicated his remarks

To development officers, the tri-athletes of academia. You stroke your way through the contrary waters of the annual fund. You bike your path around the tortuous turns of the capital drive. And you run under hot sun and heavy rain the marathon of deferred giving.

It is a sign of your stamina and vigor that you can work in all three of these areas. We wouldn’t have what we have in Christian higher education without you. It is absolutely essential for you to do your work, and I have great admiration and great gratitude for it.

A lot has changed during the 18 years since Dr. Hubbard praised and prodded Christian college development staff with his address. Yet his advise is as timely now as when first delivered. So I share his commandments with you here — KJV language and all.

  1. Thou shalt decide who thou art in professional identity.
  2. Thou shalt not take credit for major gifts that come thy way.
  3. Thou shalt err on the side of understatement in the claims for the institution.
  4. Thou shalt not scatter thy energies or turn thy focus from God, family, and mission.
  5. Thou shalt honor the wishes of donors.
  6. Thou shalt not play lawyer, tax accountant, nor realtor for thy donors.
  7. Thou shalt not ape the lifestyle of thy major donors.
  8. Thou shalt form strong ties with academic leaders.
  9. Thou shalt use restraint in academic decisions.
  10. Thou shalt not be shortsighted in the tension between current needs and long-term goals.

There’s wonderful commentary that comes with each commandment. If you would like a pamphlet to read (and save), let me know. I have 20 to spare. It’s first come, first served.


  1. Hi Rebekah – I’d be interested in getting a copy of Dr. Hubbard’s pamphlet if you still have some. Sounds great!

  2. Hello from Jerusalem – I have this paper, but would love a bound copy? Can I send you a SASE? Advise – info@biblechild.com

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