Understanding funding from a Christian perspective
"It’s a pleasure to work with such an experienced professional as David. The content that he brings and the manner in which he delivers have been relevant, challenging and inspirational for the audience at the new Stewardship Fundraising Workshops. I have seen several responses from our clients, who very much appreciated David’s workshop and I overheard one delegate, who is a fundraising professional with 15 years’ experience, say that it was ‘the best training she had been to in her career’. Thanks David."
JOHN KESKEYS, SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER, STEWARDSHIP
Stewardship was set up in 1906 to help the Christian community in the UK to give and to receive charitable donations. The organisation provides practical, tailored support to help churches and Christian charities to carry out their good work and facilitates the donation of around £60m each year from more than 25,000 individuals to over 19,000 charitable causes. Action Planning was asked to conduct a fundraising workshop for Stewardship delegates, with specific reference to being a Christian charity.
Afterwards, Stewardship asked delegates to respond anonymously to questions about the workshop. Rather than describe the work ourselves, here’s a sample of the overwhelmingly positive comments received.
Q: What is your overall comment on today’s workshop?
“Lots of useful information, well presented with opportunities to learn from each other and to network. The right number of people too.”
“Excellently delivered with good content.”
“Excellent value, great insight.”
“Very worthwhile with many excellent thoughts and ideas.”
“Very helpful overall, with a good framework and analytical tools.”
“Very useful and applicable. Will take action based on today's seminars.”
Q: What did you particularly appreciate or find helpful about the workshop?
“Emphasis on the centrality of fundraising as part of the charity’s entity and on the principles that apply in all fundraising strategies.”
“Statements that were made; for example, ‘Relationship management is not transaction management’.”
“Affirmation that some of what we are doing is right and that the changes I want to make are on the right lines.”
“Very practical tools.”
“The specific tools that we can use to develop our strategies and processes.”
“The tutor’s personal knowledge and professionalism.”
“The clear setting out of the five types of Christian charity and how it influences our approach to fundraising.”
“SWOT and Boston Matrix applied to fundraising strategy.”
“Good to take a step back to think about ideas and principles of strategic fundraising.”
“Honest approach to what is possible.”
“Identifying where we fit on the spectrum as an organisation with respect to our fundraising.”
“The clear, well-paced presentation, the very appropriate content and the practical advice, which can now be implemented.”
These comments are really rather humbling! I never cease to be amazed at the breadth of work, and service, and ministry, that make up the Christian charitable sector; it is a privilege to be able to play a small part in helping these organisations become more financially sustainable.
I guess my overriding ‘insight’ is that fundraising for Christian charities is different from fundraising for more secular causes, but it isn’t that different. So each Christian organisation could usefully think through the answers to these questions:
a) What is it about our ‘Christian distinctiveness’ that makes fundraising more difficult?
b) Are these difficulties real, or are any of them simply difficulties that we have created for ourselves?
c) For those difficulties that are real, how are we going to work around them?
d) And on the flip side, what is it about our ‘Christian distinctiveness’ that might make our fundraising easier, or more productive? Let’s play to our strengths, rather than worry too much about our weaknesses!