Talk About Money at Every Staff Meeting
Scott Morton, International Funding Coach
Be warned, I’m going to “shoot straight” with you today. Notice the title isn’t “complain or whine” about money at every staff meeting!
Supervisors, I’m serious. Put the subject of money on the agenda at every meeting. And don’t leave it until the last twenty minutes of a three-day gathering! You don’t need a long discussion. Try these ideas.
-Share a passage such as John 4:8 about the disciples “buying” food in town. Then ask, “Why buy food? Couldn’t Jesus have created lunch? He turned water into wine two chapters earlier!” To answer the question, study Luke 8:1-3.
-Ask each staff to share a recent fundraising encounter—good or bad.
-List the “emotions of fundraising” on a whiteboard and discuss them. Then pray.
-Watch a three-minute teaching video from scottmorton.net and discuss. Or download a tip from the TGIF library and discuss. You don’t have to be the expert—just open the discussion.
-Do you have a Funding Coach on your team? Which of your staff has a teeny-tiny knack for fundraising? Connect him or her with the U.S. MPD Team. Let this coach champion full-funding in your area. You are not abdicating, but delegating—just don’t leave the room during the funding discussion!
Okay, why am I saying this? Is money that important? May I be candid?
A few years ago, a consulting team reviewed The Navigators Development Department and (inadvertently) the fundraising of the entire organization. After meeting with a roomful of staff and reviewing a table-full of statistics, the veteran consultant said, “It is obvious to me this organization does not highly value fundraising!”
Was she too harsh? Though some rejected her “outsider” comment, I took it seriously—mostly because she is an unbiased outsider. But emphasizing fundraising more than we do now feels odd because we have rarely done it historically. For example, when a child grows up in a home without hugging (as we Iowans did years ago—sorry!), then hugging seems “odd.” Similarly, emphasizing fundraising might seem odd, but it can become a new normal. Saying nothing or whining about it is abnormal.
Another reason for emphasizing fundraising at every meeting is the value of repetition. Most of us don’t “get it” if we hear a topic only once a year or less. Keeping funding constantly before the staff underscores its importance, and they learn how to take action too.
Let’s not lose hope! As a rookie Navigator, a staff friend observed that his first staff meetings included a constant whining about money. “A toxic atmosphere,” he said. Then something changed. “Now we talk about money in a positive way. Someone shares a funding Scripture or a fundraising encounter, and I go away encouraged!”
The late author Henri Nouwen said, “As a form of ministry, fundraising is as spiritual as giving a sermon, entering a time of prayer, visiting the sick, or feeding the hungry.”
Finally, as you read through the gospels, note the frequency with which Jesus brought up the subject of money. It’s where people live—including us!
Contact Scott Morton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.scottmorton.net.