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Redefining Successful By Rich Haynie

Will you contemplate and adjust to a new definition of successful?

Some years ago as the president of our organization and I were boarding the aircraft, he posed this question: “Rich, how do we know when we are successful?”  In context, he was referring to the donor visits we were making on this particular trip.  As we were taking our seats in different sections of the airplane, I took advantage of the plane ride to pray and ask the Lord for His response to this question.  By the time we landed, I was impressed with Psalm 17:15.   Again, in context, I prefer the Living Bible paraphrase because it is counter-cultural and opposes  the standard definition of successful.  It reads,

“But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth, but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us.  And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face-to-face.”

In the first place, it strikes me that most folks buy into a resource development definition of success that goes along this line:  we are successful when we make the ask/close the deal, secure a gift and raise our budget.  By virtue of a ministry leader asking the question in earnest, desiring a satisfying and true answer; it struck me that so many lay persons may also be seeking the same wisdom.

Revolution-in-Generosity Success

We at the One Challenge Stewardship Ministries division have chosen to be involved in what we call, “a revolution in generosity”.  The US citizen has contributed 2-3% annually to charity over our 200+ years of existence.  To improve this, we believe that a movement must take place with our partners; that we as a department involved with partner relations must shift our focus from asking, and increased asking, to helping Christians be rich toward God by honoring God with their possessions.  This will require literally a “Revolution in Generosity”.

The movement we are supporting is an effort to move away from the commonly used transaction-approach to raising money and toward a more Biblical-approach of transforming hearts.  It replaces manipulative techniques and closing strategies with a dependence on prayer and relationship-building as the essential tools for success.  .

The Road Less Traveled in Fundraising

To get a more complete picture of success I encourage you to download my paper:  The Road Less Traveled in Fundraising.

I hope it inspires and adjusts your thinking about your fundraising efforts.


Rich Haynie is currently the Senior Director of Stewardship Ministries at One Challenge International.  He served 24 years in the United States Air Force and has been helping Christian non-profits find resources for their Kingdom work for 35 years.



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