Five Ways to Build Relationships

Five Ways to Build Relationships
I first heard Kim Klein’s name 23 years ago.  The director of the homeless shelter where I volunteered kept raving about her book Fundraising for Social Change.  Now in its 6th printing, Fundraising for Social Change was and still is the bible for any non-profit that needs to overcome its fear of money and development work. Kim Klein is a giant in the field.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when she was asked to be our church’s capital campaign consultant this year.  Rock star!  And then Kim spoke at our regional development professionals’ group.  Bonus!  She was hilarious, down to earth and oh-so practical. Her blog piece, “Coming Out as a Christian” will give you a taste of her wit. Promise me that you will read something by Kim and see her in person if she is ever in your neck of the woods.

At the workshop, Kim handed out an article she wrote for the Grassroots Fundraising Journal (a magazine she co-founded): “Back to Basics: How to Build Relationships that Last.”  For a subscription to the magazine or free e-newsletter go here.
From that article, here are Kim’s “Five Practical Ways to Build Relationships” – with my churchified editorials following the bold print:
  1. Flag those [people in your congregation] who seem most interested in your work.  You know who those people are. They are the ones that love to be around the church, wanting to volunteer, chomping at the bit with new ideas.  In general – these are positive people who want to see the church grow and be a part of that.  These are the people to notice.
  1. Have a team of volunteers to work with [the givers in your congregation].  Here’s a novel idea, give each person on the committee a list of ten people who they will thank two times over the course of the year.  Once verbally – “Thanks so much for all you do to make our congregation amazing.”  And once in writing.
  1. Be a donor [tither] yourself.  I hope this is not new news.  But if you have any doubt, listen to Rev. Duane Anders funny and incisive mini-sermon delivered at this year’s Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.  Preach it Brother Anders!
  1. See your [congregation] as human beings.  As Kim so rightly says, if you find yourself feeling cynical about the people in your congregation, “…you need to take a couple of hours off.  See a dumb movie.  Read a trashy novel. Get a massage…It’s important to get back to feeling good about your [congregation] and all the people who make your work possible.”  Figure out how to fall in love again.
  1. Remember that people change.  People in our congregations (sadly) come and go.  Some departures you will take personally and others not so much.  It’s one reason we have to remain an invitational people.  We need to be asking people all the time to be part of the Dance and to live out the Word.  We invite, not to get more in the coffers – which is really distasteful – but because we believe in the power of Christ to change lives and the importance of relationships in a community where people can grow in their faith.
Focus on what is most important – genuine, respectful, and sincere relationships.  When the time comes, the financial ask will be so much easier.  Really.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012.  She is thankful for Linda Grund-Clampit who proofs her blogs; she thinks Linda and all grammarians will appreciate Weird Al's latest video. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.