Inspiring Generosity


Unleash Generosity: Ask the Right Questions

                  The somewhat highly-prized family possession.

Years ago, when our kids were little, they’d ask us to play The Ungame. I purchased it when, even longer ago, I was a US-2 missionary (a missionary?!) in Richmond, VA. Although my game had seen better days, Luke and Rachel were insistent.
The Ungame, for the blissfully unaware, isn’t so much a game as it's a “let’s talk” experience. It has all the trappings of a typical game: a brightly colored board and pieces that move around it. But…no one wins and no one loses. That’s because you’re answering “Tell it Like it is” questions (this game was created in the 70s).
There are “Light Hearted questions”:

  • Talk about one of your bad habits.
  • What kind of people are the luckiest people in the world?
  • Say something about jokes.

Then there are “Deep Understanding” questions:

  • Thinking back, what can you say you identify as a turning point in your life?
  • Make a statement about courage.
  • How do you feel when someone laughs at you?

I remembered this game listening to Carey Nieuwhof’s Leadership Podcast. He interviewed Tony Chapman, a legend in marketing and customer engagement. Back in the day, Chapman often had to do “cold calls” – reaching out to people he didn’t know to try and sell them something. Nieuwhof asked Chapman how he became a successful cold caller:

 I'm going to give you the secret to my entire life that began with cold calling, is think of yourself as a Yoda. Help people get to where they want and deserve to go. So don't come in there like you're the most important person…all the I, I, I's.
try to understand the quest they're on in life and their journey and say, "Can I really help them get to where they want to go?" And if you're sincere in that and you're honorable in your intentions, it's no longer cold calling. You've arrived to help somebody.

 This has everything to do with unleashing generosity.
As Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group says, “Learning your donor’s passions and interests is honestly one of the most fun parts of being a fundraiser.”
And, as a person of faith, you have an opportunity to go even deeper.

  • What do you think God is calling you to do?
  • What does the church mean to you?
  • How does your vocation connect your deep gladness with the world’s deep hunger? (Shout out to Fredrich Beuchner, RIP)
  • Which one of our ministries means the most you?
  • What has been the most meaningful gift you have given to the church?

Once you know what makes your person tick, what makes them happiest, asking for a gift for ministry becomes much easier.
When you stop seeing yourself as only “asking for money” and instead see yourself as creating relationship and giving people the opportunity to experience deep joy, "We Can’t Do That" becomes a statement of the past.
Getting to know someone takes time.
Our schedules are filled with busy work. Your busy work is important but it’s just as important to set time apart for real conversation.
Call on two or three people and schedule a coffee break with them this week. Secretly pocket some Ungame questions to see where the Spirit leads.

And then watch generosity flow.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. For 25 years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she has helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She’d like you to hear this two-minute StoryCorps piece about an ice cream truck. Have your hankies ready.  You can reach Cesie 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.