As we work with our clients to help them raise funds, offer development comes up time and time again. One of the central issues is: who drives offer development within a ministry?
Should offer development come from the program team sharing all of the new things they’re doing, or from the development team based on what donors like to support?
The logical answer is both. But just how does that work? Ministries are complex, and a lot of issues can get in the way of uncovering potentially powerful fundraising offers.
The two-person ministry analogy
In the midst of one of these offer discussions, a colleague shared a rather simple yet brilliant analogy from his ministry experience. “If you could only have two people working at a ministry, what would their roles be?” Here’s how they answered:
Imagine that an organization consisted of only two people: someone whose gift is to actually do the ministry and another whose gift is to raise the money. These two people get together because they share a common vision.
In this scenario, they would have to collaborate very closely. The “program” person wouldn’t spend money on ministry activities without coordinating with the “fundraiser.” Otherwise, money could be spent that didn’t exist, or program activities could be started that may never be funded.
At the same time, the fundraiser can’t create fundraising “offers” out of thin air or worse, for programs that don’t even exist. So, close collaboration and planning is critical.
But should the program lead the fundraising, or the fundraising lead the program? The problem with this question is that it presupposes that one has to lead the other. Think about it in a different way: If the program person and the fundraiser share a common vision, why would they even debate about who should lead?
The key is having a shared vision/mission.
And there lies the challenge for many ministries who have grown way beyond the fictitious “two-person organization.” Without a shared vision, shared goals and close collaboration between core organizational functions, debates and tensions crop up over everything, including fundraising.
A shared vision promotes unity, even in fundraising
One of my favorite Scriptures comes from Philippians 2:3-4. Here Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others.”
I like this Scripture because it challenges us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Are you struggling within your ministry to have breakthroughs within offer development? How can you bring the two roles in your organization together and keep unity with your mission and fundraising?
Here at Masterworks we are dedicated to helping your team work through the challenge of offer development. We’ll help you find the best way to grow your ministry in the direction God has called you, and inspire your audience to give. And we can help you move forward as a unified team.
We’d love to walk with you through the complexities of offer development. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org now and let me know how we can serve you.