Can Fundraising be a Calling?

 

“Faith-Based Fundraisers: Can Fundraising be a Calling?”  This was the title of a recent article by David King, Ph.D. at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Lake Institute based in Indianapolis. The Lake Institute develops research designed to explore the broad context of religious giving and recently partnered with the Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE) to investigate the subject of fundraising as a calling.

And since religious giving is on my mind for much of my work with The Lutheran Schools Partnership (coaching 18 Lutheran schools on fundraising will do that to a person), and since I recently joined the national board of ALDE, and since I am surrounded every day by hundreds of wonderful called principals, teachers, pastors, and other leaders in Indiana, I felt, er, “called” to read the article.

While you can read the full article HERE, the study focused on who faith based fundraisers are, why they are motivated to work in the field, and how their faith informs their fundraising practice. Some of the key discussion points are listed below:

  • 90% of ALDE fundraisers see their work as an expression of a calling or vocation rooted in faith.
  • 88% connect fundraising to their faith.
  • 91% of ALDE members believe that working for a religious organization is important
  • 72% respond that working alongside individuals with shared values is a significant factor in their professional identity.
  • Faith-based fundraisers find the language of vocation, calling, and ministry significant in describing their work.
  • Many ALDE members report a specific calling to fundraising, sensing that they are gifted by God to fulfill a particular purpose.
  • Many of the respondents describe the process of working with donors as “pastoral” and speak of their service as a public witness for the mission of God.
  • ALDE members highlight that fundraising is always more than the money raised.
  • Faith-based fundraising necessitates celebrating and nurturing the joy of giving within donors.
  • Others point to the tensions present while nurturing donor relations: relating to donors as spiritual advisors and asking for financial gifts.

As more and more of our 18 schools hire part-time or full-time fundraising staff, I look forward to exploring their views on faith and fundraising, as well as the continued relationship between ALDE and the Lake Institute.

What do you think? Is faith-based fundraising a true calling?

Picture: Time Life, February, 1947, Illinois. Anniversary