The Third Turn

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Stewardship Based Leadership

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Oct 11, 2011 3:47:00 PM

Senior Design Partners Design Group InternationalDesign Group International Senior Design Partners and Senior Consultants are committed to lifelong learning. To that end, I'm currently enrolled in a financial management course offered by Christian Leadership Alliance. At the end of each two week session I have to post a reflection. This past session had me thinking about the intersection of raising money and managing the money in nonprofit organizations.

What strikes me is how hard it is to help donors become more sophisticated, rather than intimidated, when it comes to growing as a giver. As nonprofit organizations create opportunities to give, and work within the law, to make the gift as powerful as it can be, the amount of knowledge needed to make the gift possible, and the administrative expectations for such a gift, seem to grow exponentially, and the number of people willing to give in this way seems to shrink.
What I'm noting is this: the level of sophistication required to do anything more than give an unrestricted donation with the expectation of a receipt that it might be taken as a tax deduction, may prevent further giving because of the knowledge, energy and resources required to make the gift. A motivator for giving such as tax liability, the need to sell off an asset, or a change in accounting rules is what is usually needed to provide the underlying pressure to give. Otherwise the opportunity to give is treated as a "get around to it someday" dynamic such as writing one's will or making arrangements ahead of time for one's funeral. It's nice to have in place when it is needed, but doing it ahead of time is done by such a small percentage of people because the multi-faceted barriers loom too large.
Thus, sophisticated giving is not nearly as likely to be planned as to be driven by an urgency created by extenuating circumstances. The Financial Management/Accounting required to accurately convey that the gift is recorded and then managed properly corresponds to the difficulty of making the gift in the first place.
I appreciate anew how a gift of $10-20,000 or less that comes via these sophisticated means is almost a wash for the time/energy consumed to make and then administrate such a gift--both for the giver as well as for the nonprofit or ministry organization.
This is somewhat discouraging for those of us committed to stewardship based leadership--seeking to grow giver's hearts. And yet, instruments such as insurance policies and various forms of trusts still seem to provide a way through the complexity, especially if we can find better ways to educate future donors seeking to do major things for the kingdom of God.
whorled viewz, true friend, emell vee

Topics: process consulting, nonprofit leadership, organizational development consulting, emell vee, financial management, stewardship based leadership, ministry financial management, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Whorled Viewz, organizational design, fund raising, steward leadership


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