Inspiring Generosity


Summer’s Over: Time to Read Imagining Abundance

Here's what the cover looks like.

And so it goes. Summer. We hardly knew ye.
The end of summer makes me think of two things:
1. What is the “Song of the Summer”?

2. What book should I be reading this fall to make me a wee bit smarter?
I know that you’ve been on the edge of your seat speculating about the official “Song of the Summer.” Well folks, some of you thought it might be “Baby Shark” but you would (sadly) be wrong. No, my friends, the title goes to Lil Nas X and “Old Town Road.” The song is a mashup of rap and country music – you read that right – with a little help from Billy Ray Cyrus. It recently spent 17 weeks (a new record) as #1 on Billboard’s Top 100. But you already knew that. Let’s just say that it’s infectious and funny. Get with the young people and listen to it.
The book that you should be reading this fall is (hands down) Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy, and a Spiritual Call to Service by Kerry Alys Robinson.
Robinson is not your typical fundraiser. In 1997, she received a call from Fr. Robert Beloin, the Catholic chaplain at Yale University. He had a small proposition: would she be willing to work part-time to raise one million dollars a year for the next five years to expand Catholic campus ministry at Yale? Though Robinson worked at her family’s foundation giving out money, she herself had never been in a position to be the one asking for money and…she was pregnant with her second child.
After wrestling in prayer, she said “yes.” To make a long story short, the fundraising goals rapidly changed and by the end of the capital campaign, $75 million had been raised. A Catholic campus ministry that once was on its last legs had been radically changed forever.
Imagining Abundance is not a “how to” book, though there are some good tips sprinkled throughout. What Imagining Abundance is, is a book that affirms that at the heart of fundraising is relationship. Robinson says,
“Money is valuable but it is not the only blessing we have at our disposal. We also have time, presence, intellectual expertise, experience, talent, wisdom, compassion, mercy, stamina, joy, encouragement, and faith to name a few of the blessings we are also called to recognize, be grateful for, and offer.”
By appreciating the variety of gifts offered by others, Robinson entered into relationship with her potential donors – not seeing them as ATMs, but recognizing them as sons and daughters of God.
In many ways, Imagining Abundance is a primer about living life fully. It is about finding mission and vision, being grateful, discovering joy, and being present. It is about prayer, the faithfulness of others, and mentors of faith. It is about discernment and listening to God’s call.
In fact, Imagining Abundance is the perfect post-summer book. It’s an easy read that will lift you up and empower you to see fundraising as ministry. It will inspire you. Take the time to read it.

P.S. A perfect follow-up to last week's post, Your Salary: It's Not About You is this week's post from Nonprofit AF's Vu Le, "Are you an overheadhole? Why we need to just stop talking about overhead." Go ahead, see what the correlation is between litter and infinity scarves.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. The end of summer also means the State Fair. And eating an ice cream cone from the Dairywomen's barn. Yuuuuum. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.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.