“Fearless Fundraising” is a series on church fundraising by Charles LaFond, an Episcopal Priest, author and master potter living on a farm in New Mexico. Charles is the author of many books including Fearless Church Fundraising and now, Fearless Major Gifts: Inspiring Meaning-making. For more information, videos and model documents go to fearlesschurchfundraising.com.
This is an award-winning cornbread recipe! I often have people over to the little New Mexico farm in the fields of which I live with Kai-the-dog. We drink tea and we eat hot cornbread with warm butter and honey and we talk. We imagine possibilities.
Major gifts fundraising is as simple as that. Connection.
It is true that the major gifts materials at www.fearlesschurchfundrasing.com will help support your work… the way to make a prospect list, the way to ask for a major gift, the way to design a major or planned gift program … all of these free documents will help your church to thrive in fundraising. But nothing will happen…NOTHING… if your clergy, bishop and lay leaders to not make (not find) the time to connect over bread and tea.
A major gift emerges like a whale from the ocean, out of a series of conversations in which the donor’s longings to make meaning (see my new book Fearless Major Gifts for that) finds over-lap with the church or social-profit’s mission.
But this takes time. Like the whale in the ocean, much silent swimming happens before and after the whale makes the occasional launch into vertical flight from the waves.
Make the time. You will NEVER find the time. Make the time to sit with people of wealth. Get over your resentment of them. Get over your fear of them. Get over your various projections onto them. Love them. Ask them questions about what they find important and find the overlap with your mission and when you know each other and then when you like each other… break off a chuck of hot bread, pour some more tea, pass it to your donor-friend and ask for the gift. This is how this has happened for 10,000 years. This is still how this happens.
Break. Take. Eat. Ask. Build. Repeat.