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I once heard it said that board members find fundraising to be the least appetizing of their responsibilities. Few people are comfortable asking another for money. But we all know that without fundraising, few of our theological schools would survive. In the article “Practices that foster generosity” (In Trust, Spring 2014), Greg Henson and Gary Hoag offer readers a look at a few sound approaches to fundraising.

They suggest that all the fundraising best practices have some things in common: they are strategic, spiritual, and scalable. That first one is a no-brainer, right? You have to be strategic about every important board task. As the authors describe it, “Best practices in fundraising require intentional, focused activity on the part of the board, the president, and the chief development officer.”

The second idea might be new for some folks. Citing some great sources, Henson and Hoag write that fundraising begins with nurturing others, encouraging them to grow spiritually. Creating opportunities for others to extend generosity is no small thing, and perhaps that change in perspective alone would help many board members feel more comfortable about reaching out to others with a request.

The final trait, scalability, is good news for schools with limited resources. A good fundraising practice must be scalable — good for every size school and budget.

The authors point us to four areas where fundraisers should focus their attention: Building individual support, building church support, promoting planned giving, and building foundation support. Each of these areas call for a different approach, and Henson and Hoag lay it out nicely.

If you find the article helpful, pass it on to your development team.

Additional resource: The Sower: Redefining the ministry of raising kingdom resources (Scott Rodin and Gary Hoag, 2010).

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