Fearless Leadership: Lessons from Psalm 27

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in ...

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3 Questions to Ask Your Ambitions

For the Christian, ambition is not some optional add-on to the work we do. We bear the image of a creative God who has done all things with excellence and has called us to reflect Him in every endeavor. As poet Scott Cairns writes: “Either we are called to greatness, or we are not called at all.” “Ambition is a many-splendored, much-maligned thing,” writes Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith in his latest book, On the Road with Saint Augustine. He points out that ambition can function as virtue or vice, depending on the situation. Surrounded by corpor...

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Finding Your Calling to Find Your Way

John Henry, who has been identifying and training emerging leaders for more than 25 years, writes in his book A Conversation on Calling: Calling is no trivial pursuit. When we do not know our calling, it is like being asleep behind the wheel at night on a lonely highway. To wake up, we need to lift our head, open our eyes and ears, turn on our headlights, and pay attention to where we are going. We may not know where we are right away, but we can pay attention to the road signs and obey what we do know. Like reading road signs, we can stop, turn around if we are ...

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What Is My “State of Leadership”?

There are countless books, articles, seminars, videos, and yes, blog posts, about what constitutes a great leader. And many, if not most, are credible and helpful in discerning what characteristics make up a great leader, and even how to learn to become a great leader. I have personally read scores of books, hundreds (maybe thousands!) of articles, and attended more than sixty seminars and conferences on leadership in the last twenty years. I have been fortunate to experience the teachings of such leadership gurus as John C. Maxwell, Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard, Marshall ...

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Now What? Finishing Your Case for Support (Part 4)

In the last post, I guided you through the exercise of filling in the blanks for your cause, organization, impact, and invitation. Now, try to combine those four statements. They may still need work, but I hope you’re getting the idea. Filling in those blanks and fleshing out the sentences provides the backbone for a good case for support. Here are a couple of examples of what it looks like when you pull it all together. Example #1 Let’s take a look at a ministry that provides school meals for schoolchildren. Every day, children in our community are struggling in ...

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Building Your Case for Support (Part 3)

In the last post in this series, I shared the details of the first three steps of building your case for support: Step 1: Know your cause. Step 2: Know your organization. Step 3: Know what God asks of his people. Now that we’ve looked at these “building block” steps, we’ll examine Step 4: how you actually construct your case for support. How does that all come together? Pull out a piece of paper and work on designing your case for support right now, following along with these four steps: Cause: Why do you exist? What must be accomplished? Why are you serving in ...

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Your Case for Support: The Four Steps (Part 2)

In my last post, I explained what a case study is and challenged you to examine the messages you’re currently sending. I also talked about several transformational giving principles to counteract those unproductive messages. Now let’s take a deeper look at building a case for support that reflects God’s character and intent. What does that look like? As is often the case, much of the work of designing your case for support happens before you actually sit down and write. The process includes four steps: Step 1: Know your cause. Step 2: Know your organization. Step 3: ...

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What Case for Support Are You Making? (Part 1)

Too often I see nonprofits abandoning individual fundraising strategies when they don’t seem to work, when the real root of the problem is that they’re telling the wrong story about what they’re doing and why people can and should give in the first place. So, what is a case for support? Your case for support is what you provide to potential donors to explain the reasons they should engage with your ministry. It’s a tool you provide to champions, including your staff, board members, and donors, to equip them to share the cause with others and to aid in their own ...

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Social Enterprise: The Answer for Increased Revenue?

There has been more and more discussion of “social enterprise” in the nonprofit world, especially as it relates to the potential to enhance existing revenue streams or offset lost revenue generated by more traditional fundraising methods. While the concept or definition of social enterprise can vary widely, at its core is the idea that revenue generation for the enhancement of the shareholders is not the primary goal.  Coupled with the goal of “enhancing” shareholder value is the idea of  “enhancing” the world we live in. Simply put, an enterprise is a social ...

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How Big is Your Vision?

The Annual Big Gifts Ranking (http://philanthropy.com/article/Biggest-Gifts-of-Year-Topped/151007/) posted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy reinforces the idea that big gifts follow big visions.  How big is YOUR vision? Two scenarios illustrate this point.  First, I’m currently working with a charity on their first capital campaign, and the rumblings from the initial feasibility study interviews are that their goal isn't big enough! It represents what they "need," but donors aren't very excited by the challenge or the goal because it is dwarfed by other campaigns they ...

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