Many mornings when I wake up, my first thought is some version of “where am I going to find the $58,000 it will take to operate Baptist Children’s Homes today?”
My friends often wonder how I can thrive in an atmosphere that requires me to ask BCH supporters to contribute to its operations. They don’t understand how glad I am for the privilege of asking, and the joy I receive when supporters respond positively.
And, like most people, few of my friends understand the deep running springs of joy that flow from giving.
Studies show people who give actually live longer, healthier lives. Preoccupied by others, their own aches and pains diminish.
Giving of themselves, either through their financial means or gifts of presence in other people’s lives, taps wells of joy otherwise thought dry.
So, when I lay the needs of hurting children and broken families before friends who can help, I consider myself a “joy geologist.” I have a map and equipment to help them dig through the crust of their lives to find the joy of giving.
The main reason people do not give, you know, is because they aren’t asked. You have friends who are sitting on the sidelines with a full bag of talents, gifts and abilities under their arms, ready to help in your family, your church, your schools, your neighborhood. . . if someone would just ask them.
Think of the joy you can rain down by asking.
If people do not give because they are not asked, conversely, they give first of all because they are asked. The second reason people give is for the joy of helping others. As president of BCH, I have the rare privilege of helping facilitate joy.
I encourage our development staff to see its role as joy facilitators. Every day when they come to work, they can rain unbridled joy into someone’s otherwise dull, drab, and often gray world by showing them how to help children.
And that, my friends, may be the most significant thing we do.
I spoke recently to development officers from across the nation, and related to them the opportunities I see at hand for them to bring joy to people by helping them give. Their role is significant as each institution works hard to forge ahead in uncertain times.
Let me share briefly with you, our friends and donors, how I see the significance of development opportunities.
1. Development officers, joy givers, are to make friends for their institution and to tell a compelling and irresistible story. A capital campaign is an organized way to tell your story.
2. Development officers are to cultivate investors who will make systematic and significant gifts to the institution.
3. They are to aggressively maintain close and productive relationships with Baptist churches across the state. These churches “adopted” us and love us still. They want to secure our well-being, as we work in the task assigned us. But, like our own children, when they don’t talk with us, it’s difficult to meet their needs.
4. Our development officers are to enthusiastically promote the Thanksgiving Offering, a vital part of our health.
5. Our development joy givers are to ensure that our various publics get the information they need about our services and that relations with the public are wholesome, positive and productive.
6. They are to work closely with our service delivery providers so that development is seen as a part of the overall mission of Baptist Children’s Homes and not as just an auxiliary.
7. As our development officers travel the state, talking to hundreds of people every month, I rely on them to help discover persons with potential for major leadership roles, such as trustees.
8. Through careful research, they are to upgrade levels of giving. Those who can give large amounts find greater joy in having a significant role in a particular project. At the same time, all donors should be considered prospects for a planned or deferred gift to help secure the future.
9. Joy geologists are to help facilitate a continuing dialogue between outside constituencies and the internal organization.
10. And most significantly, they, we, me and all of us are to help our donors experience something they cannot experience on their own-the unsurpassed joy of giving.