Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Huckster Than Holy?


The executive summary of the ECFA 2012 Governance Survey, completed by almost 1,600 CEOs, board chairs and board members of ECFA Accredited organizations will be released in the next few weeks.  The differences between the three groups are very, very interesting.

Cameron Doolittle, president and CEO of Jill’s House, Vienna, Va., has collaborated with ECFA on the survey analysis.  He titled one finding, “Get money. Then what? Chairs, board members, and CEOs disagree.”

The survey question: “Of the organizational areas listed below, what are the Top-5 areas that need the greatest improvement in your ministry?”  There were 10 options, including: Fundraising, Finance & Accounting, Human Resources, Governance, Programs, Products & Services, Team Building, Meeting “Customer Needs,” Marketing & Public Relations, Strategic Planning, and Achieving Mission Results.

No surprise—all three groups ranked “Fundraising” as their greatest need. But then what? Here are the second highest ranked needs:
   --355 CEOs said: Marketing & Public Relations
   --255 Board Chairs voted for: Achieving Mission Results
   --971 Board Members checked: Strategic Planning

We’ll talk about this in future blogs, but let’s go back to the greatest need—fundraising. Why might that be? Here’s my list of possibilities:

1. Fundraising is everyone’s greatest need because with more money we can reach and serve more people for Christ.

2. But maybe, fundraising was rated Number One Need because we’re driven to do too much—way, way beyond God’s direction. He’s intentionally not blessing our work because it’s OUR work.

3. Or, we’re abusing our givers, or treating givers and non-givers alike, or maybe our appeals are more huckster than holy.

4. Perhaps the fundraising revenue is right-sized, but our expenses are super-sized.

5. It’s possible that we don’t have the right development team in place. Too old school. Too hip. Maybe we’ve inappropriately replaced shoe leather with social media. Or we have twice as many planning meetings as we have prayer meetings.

6. How about this gut check? Board members—that group that should have the highest passion and commitment for the ministry—are not 100 percent all in as generous givers (and I don’t mean “wealthy” givers). And so their circle of influence is weak or non-existent.

I could go on and I’m sure you can add to this list. It would be a good topic for your board meeting or prayer meeting. Ask your board members to rate all 10 areas.

QUESTION: Is fundraising the greatest need in your organization? If so, what might you learn by digging deeper into this subject?

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