On Wednesday, Darrell, myself, and two of Aim Right’s board members attended The Power of Transformational Giving: Radical Fundraising in Radical Times, an all-day seminar offered by the Mission Increase Foundation. There were around 150 persons in attendance, from representatives of larger non-profits such as Food for the Hungry and Child Evangelism Fellowship to smaller, lesser known organizations such as ours.
You could say that each non-profit entity represented in that seminar hall are in a competition for Christian dollars–the 2.9 to 3.1 percent of Christian Average Joe’s income that he gives away each year (which, by the way, has not changed in 50 years, percentage-wise!). Interestingly, though, according to research by George Barna, Christians have shifted to whom they are giving. If you analyzed Christian Average Joe’s giving data three years ago, you would’ve found that 84% of his donations were to his church and 16% to non-profits. Today, those numbers have fluctuated, and Christian Average Joe now gives 76% to his church and 24% to non-profits. Simple analysis tells you that this is good news for non-profits, bad news for churches.
Or is it?
What if you begin with the reasoning that competition for resources is absent from Scripture? Competing for resources implies that there is a scarcity of resources, that God probably doesn’t have quite enough in His treasury to supply yet another church or non-profit. Therefore, the ones with the best development director or the most innovative marketing department or the widest name recognition will probably make it, but as for the others…well, they’d better hope there’s enough left over after God gives the goods to His favorites. It’s a subtle “survival-of-the-fittest” mentality.
More thoughts on this subject later, but in the meantime, check out Eric Foley’s blog. He presented the above material–and much, much more– at the seminar on Wednesday, although I have taken some liberty in how I have expressed it here.