by Johnny Shiu
Fundraising. It’s something that we as entrepreneurs all have to tackle at some point. In this week’s FDE podcast episode, we examine the different issues that are associated with fundraising. You'll hear Henry note at the outset that this particular episode is a bit more weighted for the social entrepreneur or ministry entrepreneur....but I hope you'll agree that the mindset on fundraising is very relevant for entrepreneurs of all types.
For any fundraiser, I believe the heart motive is the most important. This really ties into one’s purpose and why he is fundraising in the first place. This necessarily forces the fundraiser to know his "why" (see May 3, 2018 blog). We don't want to confuse activity with clarity. Once the fundraiser is clear on his/her goal, which is aligned with God's purpose (if faith based), then there should be no room for manipulation.
While some may view fundraising as somewhat transactional, I submit that it should be relational. This means that the fundraiser has an awesome opportunity to love on the potential donor. You see, it’s all about relationships. In this, May 8, 2018 podcast episode, our guest J. Paul Fridenmaker touches on this very important point. Donors and venture capitalists can all detect if you're being genuine or if there's a sales pitch coming on. Using a legal analogy, J. Paul impressed us that often times he is doing "discovery" on the donor and his/her current situation. At times, the fundraiser may have to retreat, see the bigger picture, and do what is right for the donor! Wow! There is no shortcut in caring for somebody.
In addition, the fundraiser may do well to check his heart. Is he breeding hostility or providing hospitality? Frequently, we may try to impress or influence others with our own cause. In doing so, there's a tendency to become resentful if our advances go unrequited. In truth, we may become - well - a little hostile. However, if we check our heart posture, and really understand the person first and extend grace we may find that God then has room to work in that situation.
For the faith driven donor, be encouraged that your financial support means that you are standing side-by-side and on the front line for that particular cause. I recall that in Philippians 4:14-18 that Paul reminded the Philippian churches that their financial support directly impacted his ministry throughout.
Fundraising for any entrepreneur will continue to present unique challenges and unique opportunities. We will revisit this topic in future podcast episodes. Meanwhile, we would love to hear from you, our community, if there is something you would like us to talk about.
Editor's Note - Johnny is our newest contributor (please by mindful, of course, we're all new). He's been an awesome encouragement to us, particularly as we look to continue to improve the podcast. ALSO, please note that while this blog and podcast are appropriately named, it's just a dim glimpse of the great book of the same name by Henri Nouwen....as mentioned in the podcast, it's quick and great read.