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November and December—Serving our donors or getting in the last ask?

Using the end of the year wisely

As all development officers look at their year-end strategy, I know there is a great deal of pressure to meet goals and raise funds.  You have your Top 100 to contact, your board, maybe pledges that were made earlier in the year, and then your Year-End Giving reminder.

But is it all about the income and goals?  Can we do more as ministers of development?

I would like to offer you a couple of thoughts for your consideration.

1. The end of the calendar year has financial and personal considerations for donors and stewards.

This time of year presents many opportunities, but also pressures for our donors. When you go into a meeting with a donor are you thinking about helping them with their stewardship goals, or how much you can "get" from them?  Our attitudes can be read by our donors.  Make sure your heart is in the right place before the meeting or phone call.

2. This is a time where you can SERVE your stewards in a very real way.

Seeing your donors as stewards of the Creator God puts an awesome responsibility on your shoulders.  You can share wisdom and opportunities for giving when you see your role as a guide to your donors. You are there to serve them because of your experience, knowledge, and position in your ministry. Use this responsibility wisely.

3. This is a time of year where you can CHALLENGE your stewards.

There are times when the trust we have developed with a donor allows us to challenge them to greater giving.  They look to us for wise counsel and sometimes provide firm opinions. These are unique situations and are earned through building relationships.

4. This is a time of year where you can ENCOURAGE AND EDUCATE your stewards.

It is a great privilege to be working with donors where you can encourage and educate them about stewardship, giving, and generosity. When our donors look to us as ministers of development we can serve them by teaching them when appropriate.

As we all know, our attitudes lead the way when we go to work or meet with someone. Having an attitude of service and ministry at this time of the year will be well received by our donors. May this reminder give you some ideas as you meet with your year-end stewards and find this time a joyful experience rather than just a financial "Hail Mary pass to the end zone."

Blessings to you in your time of service and ministry,

 Dr. John R. Frank, CFRE, CCNL