Ask for a Fish

Posted on Apr 20, 2020 by Jon Dize - Funding the Mission

No, not that kind of fish. It may be Lent, but this post is really about the finishing of another great Lenten Book Study by members of our area Lutheran School staff fundraisers and principals. Not everyone attends, and not everyone attends every week, but we did have a dedicated group that met every Tuesday from February through Holy Week. While we always had the opportunity to Zoom to the in-person meeting for those unable to travel, the last 3 weeks we were only Zooming.

The book we read was titled, Ask for a Fish by Ron Haas. To me, it is the third book of a Trifecta reading must-do for those in Christ-centered work (the first one is highlighted in this post and the second is discussed in this post.)

Not to spoil the plot of the book, but Ask for a Fish organizes the needed pieces of successful Christ-based fundraising to the following 7 chapters:

  1. Pray; raising money for Christian endeavors must be a spiritual activity for the ask and the donor.
  2. Give; you must give a generous, sacrificial gift before you can ask others to support your ministry.
  3. Network; fundraising is not about what you know but who you know.
  4. Invite; the most effective way to build a donor base is one friend at a time.
  5. Ask; perhaps the most fearful step of all is to ask someone for money.
  6. Work; nothing’s easy… successful fundraising requires relentless patience and hard work.
  7. Thank; it doesn’t cost much to say thanks, but it might cost a much more if you forget to do it.

In addition, the group noticed another common theme throughout the chapters: fundraising is a team sport! Board and committee members MUST be part of the process. Somewhere along the way in the last few decades, this requirement of boards has been diminished or removed from board member training. Rather than outsourcing financial support to the principal or executive director, the book highlights the truth from Ecclesiastes 4:1Verse2: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

I am grateful for the opportunity to spend this time with God-fearing, Christ-loving school leaders that work every day to ensure that the mission of their schools and churches is funded today and tomorrow. In true TLSP spirit, we are already planning next year’s book choice.