Why I am using the "giving opportunities" approach
Note: this page adds some explanation to the newsletter e-mailed November 28th. It is unrelated to the rest of the material on the SYNC web site, except that support for the site is one of the four categories of opportunity for giving.
Following is the print letter that was sent out to my snail mail addresses to explain why I started using the “opportunities” approach to communicating with donors. The print letter had the photos and descriptions of the four categories for giving and praying on the back.
November 28, 2017
Since GMI closed at the end of June, my support picture has changed. This letter explains the new approach I am taking and opportunities for you to participate, as God leads you.
The approach follows the model of a mission agency I admire greatly and I personally support, Asia Harvest (www.asiaharvest.org). Their director runs various projects such as Bible printing for China but he does not set funding targets for them. Instead, he tells his donors to ask God how much to give to each project or category. The more gifts come in for Bible printing, the more Bibles he prints. In other words, he presents donors with “opportunities” of an undefined size instead of “needs” of a fixed size.
Benefits of this method:
DONOR CONFIDENCE. Donors know that every time they give, some ministry gets done that would not have got done if they had not given. They also know that 100% of a designated gift goes to the project they designate. There is zero deduction for admin costs because those are raised separately.
LESS PROMOTIONAL HASSLE AND EXPENSE. The organization does not have to keep producing fundraising campaigns for each new need. It just keeps sending out the same descriptions and photos of (almost) the same ongoing projects for years. Very little overhead, and donors are not being asked to consider each new project, each trip, etc., as it comes along.
LESS PRESSURE FOR THE ORGANIZATION. The director is never behind or pressured about fund-raising because he does not promise anyone how many Bibles he will print or how much other activity he will do. Projects expand or shrink according to the donations, and he keeps reporting how much was done.
Drawbacks of this method?
DONORS DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH IS “NEEDED” AT ANY PARTICULAR TIME. Unlike most non-profit organizations, Asia Harvest rarely states a giving target that would help a donor size up a total need. It sometimes does state a cost per Bible or per worker supported, which gives donors an idea of how much difference a gift of a certain size will make. For most donors, this approach takes some getting used to.
Thanks for reading this explanation, as well as for gifts already given. See other side for current opportunities.