No, I'm not asking you to empty the contents of your wallet for an SGO gift (unless you want to!).The once-popular TV credit card commercial would run through all the wonderful things that the person or family could do with just the right piece of plastic in their grasp.I'd like to challenge every school principal, board chair, and finance staff member with the following question: If someone were to walk into your building today and say, "I have $100,000 to give. What do you need?" Would you have an answer?"Sure, I would," you quickly reply, but do you really? Given 30 minutes, you could think up all kinds of wants and needs, but if put on the spot, could you whip out a piece of paper (or bring up that PDF on your iPad) to show this dream donor just what projects, programs, dreams, etc., where his or her money could make a noticeable impact? Could you produce that piece of paper that could help you do all of the wonderful things you talk about in those late-night board meetings?
I challenge you to write that list now. Type it into an email on your iPhone. Or ink up the napkin in front of you. Now.To help get the thought process going, think of the following: Capital campaign needs (these items are probably the first pictures to enter your head). Other capital needs (the preschool director does keep mentioning they need new carpeting). Endowment needs (maybe you can finally match The Lutheran Foundation's challenge match this year!). Technology needs (the Windows XP computers are a bit slow in the library nowadays ... ). New program ideas (new bells for the eighth-grade bell choir? Language instruction? Wunderbar!). Student needs (matching basketball uniforms!). Outreach needs (the carnival will be a blast next year!). Staffing needs (now we can hire that advancement guy Dize keeps talking about!).Go ahead and write down the pie-in-the-sky ideas as well as the $500 bench in the children's garden; you never know what will ring true with that Cheerful Giver sitting in your office waiting for your list.Make sure to also place a good "guestimate" on the cost of the items on your list, and even rank them in order of cost and what you would want first.Did I mention that you should make this list now? You never know when God will present the opportunity. Heck, you could even keep your list in your wallet.And for what it's worth, you can be that wonderful donor who gets to bring a smile to your church and school-leadership faces. Be a Cheerful Giver and have your own set of wish-list items! Maybe the two lists will match.