Finding the Perfect Donor


All successful capital campaigns since the very first one recorded in Exodus are dependent on this kind of donor. Identifying them and knowing how they think can make all the difference for your next big initiative.Exodus 25 begins a story of the first recorded capital campaign in history. In later chapters, the writer tells us the results of the campaign and what they did with the funds raised.

It’s fascinating how this case study showcases all the elements of the successful capital campaigns we see today.

Each donor gave freely. This wasn’t a tax or government procurement. Moses clearly portrayed the vision to the people. The vision matched the desires of the donor base — and they responded!

Uniquely, the campaign focused on soliciting and receiving asset-based gifts. Moses saw tremendous success in building the Tabernacle by going deep with this commonly missing component of capital campaigns.

But there’s another ingredient of successful capital campaigns that I want to dive into today.

Donors make capital campaigns a success, not their gifts. It’s all about people. Click To Tweet

This final element of success is distinct because it’s a component of the donors that make capital campaigns a victory for your nonprofit, church, or ministry. To hit your campaign goals, you’ll need to identify, cultivate, and solicit campaign gifts from these special people.

Characteristics of the Perfect Donor

The kind of donor that makes capital campaigns successful are those who know that…

  1. Their wealth is a gift to them,
  2. They are responsible to steward it well, and
  3. They must use it to further their values rather than accumulate more valuables.

Take a look at the results of this ancient case study and see how these ingredients were present in the donors who gave to build the Tabernacle.

“Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.’

Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary. And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.Exodus 36:2–7 [Emphasis mine]

The capital campaign goal was reached, and the donations kept coming in so much so that they had to restrain the people. (Imagine writing a letter/email/blog post telling your donors to stop giving because you have more than enough!)

Not one person gave a check. Nobody gave a CD. These people were giving assets.

Where did those assets come from?

They came from the “plunder” of Egypt. As the Jews left Egypt, God instructed them through Moses to go to their neighbors and ask for things. The Egyptian people, knowing that God was with the Israelites, gave the Israelites — former slaves — anything they asked for including silver and gold.

“The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.” – Exodus 12:35–36 (NIV)

There’s nothing in Scripture to indicate that the Israelites would have asked for these items on their own. God had given them the insight to go to their neighbors and request these precious assets. So they left Egypt with more than enough to build the Tabernacle a few years later.

Recognizing God’s Hand

Everything the Israelites had to give to the capital campaign came as a direct result of God’s favor and direction in their lives. In our modern society, isn’t the same?

Whether you have a multimillion dollar company or you have 50 dollars leftover in your pocket, what you have comes from the hand of God.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to think as hard-working Americans, “Look at what I’ve done. I’m a self-made person.” It’s easy to give credit to our free market system, our business-friendly government policies, or the massive amount of information available at our fingertips for our wealth.

But how foolish that would be! Sometimes we need to be reminded of the truth.

“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” – Deuteronomy 8:17–18 (NIV)

Whatever we have comes because of God’s blessing. He enabled us to produce the assets that we have. He gave us the skills, the insight, the heritage, the education, the right piece of land — whatever it might be.

It all came from the hand of the Lord.

Becoming the Perfect Donor

So you and I do the same thing when we participate in capital campaigns. We’re taking the resources God has blessed us with and now using those as a part of our worship to the Lord. It’s part of our thanksgiving to him.

Knowing our wealth comes from God motivates us to give generously of our assets, not just our money. Click To Tweet

The difference today versus thousands of years ago is that most people sell their assets (such as a business or a piece of land or a warehouse), pay the taxes, and then give the cash to charity. But asset-based giving allows to give the asset itself rather than write a check — just like the Israelites did when they built the Tabernacle.

Knowing that all your wealth comes from God motivates you to give generously of your assets, not just your money.

And this comes with some significant benefits to you and your donors! By giving assets, you and your donors can avoid those taxes, get a handsome charitable deduction, and at the same time use the resources God blessed you with to further His Kingdom.

Want to know more about finding, motivating, and serving the perfect donor to do great things with their God-given resources? Let’s talk!