There are two books we consistently recommend to charitable leaders who fundraise.
Fair warning, these are not books about how to convert potential donors into lucrative long-term partnerships, or how to write eblast campaigns. There are plenty of those resources out there.
These books bring us back to a Biblical understanding of what it means to give and receive. They remind readers that while marketing campaigns and galas can be useful tools in the toolbelt of donor development, they must not supercede a spiritual foundation to fundraising.
The authors below argue that fundraising is a key part of Kingdom building as Christians that are seeking funds and those that have funds to give collaborate for God’s great purposes. These books affirm the spiritual nature of fundraising—not as a means to an end or a so-called “necessary evil” but as a ministry in and of itself.
If you desire a more Biblical perspective on fundraising this year, dive right into the following books.
1. A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen
In his short but powerful book, Nouwen writes that “fundraising is a subject we seldom think about from a spiritual perspective”. But “from the perspective of the gospel...fundraising is, first and foremost a form of ministry.” We often think of fundraising as a necessary but unpleasant activity we do before the real ministry takes place, but this is far from what Scripture outlines. As part of The Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series, Nouwen’s writings challenge readers to see that God is closer than we think in the daily activities we may see as mundane or void of spiritual activity. Scripture, Nouwen reminds us, has much to say about giving, generosity and the abundant blessings that come from it.
For more information on A Spirituality of Fundraising, click here.
2. Keeping Faith in Fundraising by Peter Harris and Rod Wilson
Harris and Wilson anchor their book in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. They write, “for those who believe that fundraising is a ‘dirty business,’ removed from anything spiritual or Christian and lacking in virtue and nobility, 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 are arresting.” In these passages, we see Paul making a direct fundraising appeal to the Corinthian church, reminding them of the critical role financial giving plays in spreading the gospel. The Bible contains a funding appeal that might have contemporary fundraising consultants scratching their heads. Direct, bold and persistent, Paul has no shame in asking for money from his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This passage acts as a springboard to a robust discussion on how Christians ought to think of the giving and receiving of funds.
Throughout the book, Harris and Wilson share personal accounts from their experience as fundraisers for large non-profits. They recount stories of God’s faithfulness in generous giving, and in the lessons-learned when funding fell short.