“If you religious people ever get smart about fundraising, the rest of us may be in trouble.”
— United Way official to author, William “Bill” Enright
Sometime around Christmas I had the opportunity to read a new book entitled, “Kitchen Table Giving” by William “Bill” Enright. Written by a pastor for pastors, Bill was the founding leader at the Lake Institute, the religious giving research arm of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis. Full of quotes (like the one above), statistics, and anecdotes gleaned from his time as a pastor and as a leader of the institute, I found this short, 6-chapter, 77-page a quick read yet full of useful information not just for our local churches but also for our 19 area Lutheran schools.
So useful, in fact, that I had an idea: since I meet with the fundraising staff/volunteers/principals of most of our schools on a weekly or monthly basis, why not alter our meetings for 6 weeks and instead host a 6-week book club, discussing one of the chapters a week? Consider it a Bible study on fundraising, of sorts? I am already building a case that fundraising is a calling (more on that in a future post), so this book seemed a great first step.
After I had TLSP head honcho Mark Muehl read the book to ensure its doctrinal integrity, we found a date and time (Wednesdays and noon) for all or us to either meet or call-in to discuss the points of the chapter for the week. Now in our fourth week, the discussions around the table and the additional anecdotes from those in attendance have been invaluable.
I figured that if I want to help change the way our schools and churches see fundraising, as the book outlines, we need to change from within the way our church and school leadership views fundraising. So my plans grew to first host this Book Club, whose attendees will then host their own book club study with their own school and church leadership. We already have one person in the group who purchased copies for his entire advancement committee, and another who invited his pastor to join him in the future.
As the opening quote indicates, if Religious Fundraising is the highest category of giving every year for Americans according to the experts, and if education is the second-highest area of giving, why aren’t our Lutheran-based schools with all of these cute, smiling kids raising more money than they could use? Read the book and find out for yourself. It’s only $15 (and free shipping if you are an Amazon primer like myself). And once you read the book, purchase a copy for your pastor to read, too. (Especially chapter 2.) Here is the Amazon Book Link.