“For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.”
I flew home to NJ two weeks early to get ready for our December 9 wedding. Bill followed with my car after finishing his first semester as a Nav intern at the University of Illinois. His financial security rested in his Amoco credit card and his tin Sucrets box filled with quarters. I was the rich one with about $200.00 in my checking account. If my parents knew, I probably would not be typing this post today!
Were we naïve, crazy, or full of faith? I’m not sure any of those descriptors were quite correct, but we were in love.
As the days drew closer and the wedding cards arrived, over and over the same scripture was scrawled under the sender’s name—Psalm 84:11. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Those words became our prayer. They became our wedding promise that grew into our marriage promise.
We paid for the tuxes, went on a honeymoon, rented a U-Haul to pull all our new stuff back to Illinois, and paid the next month’s rent on our two-room apartment. The adventure undergirded with a promise.
Although I don’t remember any formal “pfund”-raising training, we did make one potential donor visit before we married, our first. I remember driving around the block a half dozen times praying for the courage to park the car and ring the door-bell. Uncle Bill and Aunt Kay were so gracious. They committed to give and Uncle Bill ended our time with this sage advice, never be afraid to be a beggar for the Lord. To this day, prayer is step one for us with pfund-raising.
Marriage and ministry grew together and we started learning what partnering looked like in both arenas. My spiritual gift is the telephone … according to Bill. So I became the front person; I initiated with phone calls and set the pfunding appointments. Bill carried the conversation once we were eye-ball to eye-ball, made the ask, and did the follow-up. That partnershipstill guides today.
Early-on we learned that pfund-raising was priority piece of our job description, not a ministry add-on. It required committed time; time that was equally as important as leading Bible studies. Time to make pfunding calls, time to follow-up, and time to write thank you notes.
Penning thank you notes communicates loudly. We create cards and buy unique stamps especially for these notes. I was down by Bill’s computer a few minutes ago and he was in the process of printing a new set of note cards. Our goal is that each donor gets two hand-written notes a year. We partner in this too. Usually Bill gives me about a dozen notes each month to write.
When visiting campuses we always stop at the bookstore for a supply of postcards to jot a quick note as well.
Our donors are our friends. And we purpose to be part of their lives too. They love God and have a heart for ministry and often take mission trips of their own. We budget some of our giving to support their trips.
We love having fun with them too. We’ve cheered on the Cubs with our
donors friends; we’ve gone camping and sailing with our donors friends.
Glenn and Margo Balsis are the champions in this area, but we work at following their example of presents.We look for small things, perhaps a book, a Glen Eyrie calendar, or a Navigator journal to send for no special reason. We also look for a special present for our most generous year end donors.
One other principle we follow, is we are specific with our needs. We sometimes receive letters saying we need to raise about $5000.00 for ___________. This is my bias, but I prefer knowing specifically what the need is. I am much more motivated to give when I know the impact of my gift.
We do not practice any of these pfunding-principles perfectly. We struggle to make the necessary time. Sometimes raising money is just not as fun as front-line ministry. We’re usually catching up on thank you notes. Sometimes the pile seems impossibly high.
But Psalm 84:11 has been our trust. And God has proved Himself faithful.
Bill and Sue have been hanging around the Navs since college days. Perhaps that is why we love ministry to that generation so much! We have been married for 42 years and on staff for 42 years. I love penning my weekly blog, Echoes of Grace, and facilitating Sabbath-Living retreats, both designed to help women grow in their friendship with God. We have 2 married sons and 5 GRANDS and 1 faithful Golden Retriever, Lexie.
In what ways do you practice “p-fund raising”? Share something that God taught you during our funding series!