Inspiring Generosity


                    This pug knows how to have F-U-N. Do you?

Why is Fundraising F-U-N?
It’s hard not to be numbed. A second mass shooting within a week of the first. It reminds me of U2’s plaintive wail based on Psalm 40, “How long to sing this song? How long, how long? How long, to sing this song?” Nicholas Kristoff (from the fair state of Oregon) wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times in 2017 and he updated it yesterday after the shootings in Atlanta and Boulder. How to Reduce Shootings, provides responsible ways to move forward (and no, it does not ban hunting) to lower gun suicides, homicides, and mass shootings.
However, if you are looking for some way to forget the world’s troubles, let me introduce you to the Netflix show “Waffles + Mochi.” It’s ostensibly a cooking show for kids – but I was grinning from ear-to-ear (and learning a lot too) as I watched the first episode. Recipes + Puppets + Travel = Super Fun.
Let’s get to why you are here! To inspire generosity! Hooray!
Yesterday, I ran across an article from The Faith + Leader weekly blog. The title was pretty catchy, How I Learned to Love Dealing with Money in Ministry and How You Can Too. Rev. Margaret Marcuson gave five quick ways she learned how to appreciate working with money. It’s well worth your time to read it.
Marcuson’s article led me to reflect on what has kept me in this field of fundraising and stewardship for more than 25 years. There are many reasons, but let me tell you two stories to illustrate why I continue to love my vocation:
1. It brings joy to the giver. My very first big fundraising project was raising money for new playground equipment for the park across the street from my house. Our neighbor, Pat, had recently become a widow. Jim was a great guy. He wasn’t that old and his death had come as a complete shock to us all.

Pat came down and wanted to see what equipment we wanted to get for the playground. I showed her all the pieces and then said, “Here’s a see-saw. It costs $2,000.” Pat immediately said, “Well, I just sold Jim’s car today for $2,000. I'll pay for the see-saw.” The serendipity of that moment was not lost on either of us. It was both touching and joyous.
2. It’s full of surprises. A number of years ago, I was chairing the 40th anniversary celebration of the Children’s Educational Theatre. To make the program available to all kids, we wanted to significantly increase the scholarship fund. How about we ask the local winery owner – whose daughter went through the program – if he would be interested in a $5,000 donation?

I went with a friend who knew the owner. We sat down, made our pitch – but forgot to give him a dollar amount. Seemingly out of nowhere, he said, “How about I give you $25,000?” So many years later, that memory alone still brings a smile to my face. We used that money as a match – and we ended up raising well over $60,000 for scholarships.
Here’s my question to you: What has brought you joy and surprise in raising money? Is there a story you’d like to tell? Send it to me and I will feature it in an upcoming blog.
There is too much sadness in this world. The generosity of so many people is - dare I say it? -  inspiring. Take a moment to recall your own story of being generous or being on the receiving end of generosity. Write it down. Send it to me. Trust me, your day will be better for it.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past 25 years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise more than three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. If Waffles + Mochi isn’t your thing, maybe Nadiya Bakes will be more your…jam. Cesie 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.