Friday reflections on another week of generous matters

Put your money on vision. If offerings at your church have hit a plateau, take a look at “Building a Hopeful Financial Future: Funding Your Congregation’s Vision” from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary.  And if church offerings aren’t your thing, pass the link along to someone for whom congregational giving is an issue.

The resource package includes videos and PowerPoint presentations that are useful for self-study or in group settings, along with outlines and other teaching tools.  And all for just $60 per set, which sounds like a pretty good investment.

Put your money on fundraising. Speaking of investments in greater giving, check out the article on “multiplication philanthropy”  over at the HBR Blog Network. The author’s thesis: “Fundraising alone has the capacity to multiply money.”  So, “if you want to build capacity, don’t fund technology and HR, fund the fundraising for those things.”

The article continues:

There are longstanding, proven correlations between the amount spent on the various fundraising methods and how much each will return. Those correlations are all positive. A Giving USA study found that a dollar invested in a major gift program produces, on average, $24 in revenue. A dollar invested in a direct mail program produces $10. A dollar invested in a special event produces $3.20. Fundraising multiplies the potential of charitable gifts.

Put your money on listening. Consultant Bernard Ferrari’s thoughts on “good listening” are as apropos to leaders in the nonprofit sector as for leaders in the world of business. Ferrari writes in the McKinsey Quarterly:

Good listeners tend to make better decisions, based on better-informed judgments, than ordinary or poor listeners do — and hence tend to be better leaders. By showing respect to our conversation partners, remaining quiet so they can speak, and actively opening ourselves up to facts that undermine our beliefs, we can all better cultivate this valuable skill.

In other words, sometimes the best way to say we care, is to say nothing at all.

Put your money on the living. The editor of The Marketplace gives fundraisers another reason to keep donor lists up-to-date and focused on the living. He writes:

Some 30 percent of consumers saw incorrectly addressed mail as a black mark on a company’s environmental image. When it comes to charities, about the same percentage said they would be more likely to support an organization that uses environmentally friendly direct mail techniques. In addition, about 87 percent said they would not donate to an organization if they received appeals addressed to deceased people.

What's your take on this topic?

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