I’m Happy to Ask You for Money

I often bump into an awkward moment.

I’m chatting with someone about my job and comes up in conversation that raise part of my own salary and benefits. Heads tilt curiously. Brows furrow. Gears turn. “What?” people ask me.

I stammer and mumble. But what I should say is this:

I work for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  It’s a 70-year old interdenominational ministry to college students on 550 campuses around the country.

Like most nonprofits, we depend on donations to serve in this way. Some nonprofits spend a lot of money on a large department of professional fundraisers (so a small group of people spends a lot of money to raise a lot of money).

InterVarsity, and a lot of similar organizations, choose a different route. Why not have a lot of people all raise some money? Our staff members on campus raise money for their salaries, benefits, and ministry expenses. Working on the Communications team, I raise half of my salary and benefits. This can be awkward sometimes.  But mostly it ‘s great:

  1. This ensures a high degree of alignment of values between the organization and me.
  2. It pushes me to keep expenses down, because I know the people who are giving.
  3. I watch how my time is spent, again because I know the people who donated to have me do my job.
  4. This model yields a high degree of accountability across the organization regarding stewardship of finances and time.
  5. It yields an increased push for strategy and efficacy.
  6. Raising financial support has me maintain a lot of fantastic friendships.
  7. I’m forced to trust God for my daily bread (at least in some sense).
  8. I get to tell stories of my ministry and that of InterVarsity, which can challenge those I reach.
  9. It gives a lot of grassroots PR back to InterVarsity.
  10. This also gives me an opportunity to encourage others to live lives of service, too.

What would you add to this list? Or what doesn’t make sense to you about it?

  • Mike Hickerson

    Another benefit that I have received: my calling is confirmed and encouraged by my Christian community. I draw great comfort when other Christians hear from the Holy Spirit that not only is my work important, but that I’m the right person to be doing that work.

  • http://www.wfuiv.com Kevin Boyd

    #3 is especially convicting/encouraging for me. Thanks for sharing, Adam!

  • acjeske

    Yeah, Kevin–no lollygaggin’!

  • acjeske

    Another friend wrote, “Just wanted to send a message of thanks and encouragement regarding the blog post on fund-raising. I’m traveling right now doing some fund-raising and your blog was exactly what I needed to read. Very encouraging words that put my anxieties in perspective. Blessings and thanks again!