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Posted 11/5/13 at 3:04 PM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman |

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Jesus... The Venture Capitalist?

The Parable of the Talents told in Matthew 25:14-30 is one of my favorites for so many reasons. One reason I love this story so much is because, like all of the parables, there are a variety of nuances in interpreting the story. Another reason is because the verse, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" is a verse I keep at the forefront in my life. I try to guide all of actions by asking if this is how Christ would respond as my life expires. Lastly, I had such a distorted and confused understanding of this section of scripture when I called myself an Atheist. Like many other Atheists and Agnostics, I saw a God that I did not want to know and that I knew would reject me even if I did tried to please Him.

Allow me to summarize...

Jesus describes a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more talents. So also, the one with two talents gained two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. FULL POST

Posted 11/4/13 at 2:28 PM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

STOP Watching Churches Die

As a church growth and funding consultant, I receive phone calls and emails weekly from desperate and dying churches, and the question that I refrain from asking each of them is, “Why did you wait so long to do something?”

Are you watching your church membership wither away? Just watching… a very long and drawn out death… slowly draining away the last bit of energy and resources. You may know the main problems causing decline… you may even know the solutions. But by delaying action, solutions now sometimes seem like big problems and problems like simple solutions. So instead of digging out… you avoid conflict, dig in on the causes, and hasten the death toll. The youngest are the first to fall off… babies, children, teens… and then the heartbroken and devastated families perish with them. Buildings begin to empty, banks move in and start to foreclose in record numbers, but still nothing changes. Sadly, this is the state of many mainstream Protestant churches in America!

In recent years, churches have steadily declined in health due to an overall trend toward declining attendance, aging membership, and a steady decrease in giving. A Barna study on “How to Increase Giving in Your Church” shows that as of 2010, more than 25% of churches have average weekly attendance of less than 50 and nearly 50% have less than 100 people in weekly services. More than 80% of congregations note that the current recession had a negative impact on finances. According to the real estate information company CoStar Group, church foreclosures increased fivefold from 2008 to 2011. Overall, only 3 to 5 percent of those who donate money to a church tithe (give 10 percent of) their incomes. Clearly, many American churches have floundered in their effort to stay relevant, solvent, and vital as communities shift culturally and struggle financially. FULL POST

Posted 8/24/13 at 11:23 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

Love the Unlovable

Next week I will have a post titled “How to Stop the Violence and Reclaim our Children” that will be much more detailed and specific but I wanted to get this quick, more personal post out today.

With all of the violent incidents in the news the last week or two I wonder how contributive it was that so many national leaders from politics to the news media to Hollywood to athletes were so quick to excuse the behavior of Trayvon Martin as justified and condemn the behavior of George Zimmerman as racist? Are they encouraging young people to fight back against imaginary acts of aggression? Against racial injustices that are not really there? When they fight back against people who never fought first they are seen as attacking… this feeds the racism that our leaders say they are trying to stop. The race baiting is feeding a greater distance between the racist, creating greater animosity, and causing each to see the other as evil or criminal or stupid or some other terrible thing.

It is so easy to discard the people we see as evil, criminal, stupid, unlovable, addicted, uneducated, lazy... useless. It is easier to discard them as trash than to try and understand them… to try and love them… to try and love them… and to try and see the world how they see the world. It is so much easier to hate them than to love them. FULL POST

Posted 8/20/13 at 4:38 PM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

Get Equipped to Secured New Donors

Has God ever given you a BIG job to do but then you try to convince yourself that God changed His mind? Maybe you tell yourself it was your own mind talking and not God speaking to you… when you know it was the Lord telling you it is time to move.

I know this has happened to me. Has it ever happened to you?

Those of us working with ministries, nonprofits, and churches I think sometimes face a somewhat similar situation. You're getting ready to meet a donor to ask for a gift. Then you talk yourself out of asking. Why? You come up with seemingly solid reasons why you should hold off on asking, but should you? For Christians, I think it is important during these times to listen for what God would have us do in these moments.

In addition to prayer, there are some practical techniques we can use. I just watched a video I thought you might like that deals with this very issue. Marc Pitman (aka the Fundraising Coach) talks about preparing to ask a donor for a gift.

He has some great examples of how to prepare for a donor meeting so it goes much smoother. Check it out: http://www.501videos.com/cmd.php?Clk=4849219

I hope this video proves to be a useful resource for your ministry, and if you have questions about developing funding for your ministry, Contact Here-4-You Consulting toll-free at 866-437-3481 for information on how we may serve your ministry. We look forward to hearing from you! FULL POST

Posted 6/19/12 at 11:30 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

Immigration Decision Creates a Constitutional Crisis

Washington Times’ reporters Seth McLaughlin and Ralph Z. Hallow noted the "muted reaction on the ground” concerning the “immigrant decision” announced last week by President Obama. [‘Immigrant Decision Gets Muted Reaction’, June 18] This is an indictment of our citizenry and stems from a profound lack of understanding about our country’s founding documents and the role of each branch of government.

Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges that, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed." Accordingly, we formed a government with three co-equal branches of government, as explained on the White House website:

To ensure that no person or group would amass too much power, the founders established a government in which the powers to create, implement, and adjudicate laws were separated. Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches: The President can veto the laws of the Congress; the Congress confirms or rejects the President's appointments and can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances; and the justices of the Supreme Court, who can overturn unconstitutional laws, are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. FULL POST

Posted 5/21/12 at 9:04 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

It is National Small Business Week – My Journey!

I want to thank all of the small businesses out there who are willing to take risks, work hard, make sacrifices, and do what so many other people are not willing to do.

I have been self-employed most of my life. When I did work for someone else I worked in small business in management positions.

I started working when I was 11 years old delivering PennySavers (weekly Newspaper) in NY. When I was 12 I added a Daily News route (daily, morning delivery) and then a Daily News (daily, afternoon delivery) route a few months later.

By the time I was 14 I was working as a dishwasher in a restaurant and when I was 15 I started FT work doing HVAC work having already dropped out of school.

When I was 18 I helped start an indoor amusement park and was the senior facility manager. At this point I went and got my G.E.D.

When I was 22 I started a cleaning and window cleaning business while I was going to college for my Associates Degree.

After college I ran several nonprofit agencies and the Program Director and then the Executive Director before starting my own Consulting Company in February of 2000 when I was 29 years old. This business now has several staff members and has served clients all over the United States and in about 20 foreign countries. I have a 2nd business investing in real estate as a partnership with my brother. I am responsible for raising my paycheck as well as those of my staff. I am responsible for my own retirement, my own health benefits, and any other benefits. FULL POST

Posted 4/20/12 at 9:18 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

Growing a Friend to Be a Friend and Donor to the Ministry

It can be quite complex to balance a friend relationship simultaneously with a donor relationship. Sometimes a donor relationship becomes so friendly that making the bigger asks become difficult and awkward. Other times a relationship starts with a friendship but you also have a keen awareness that this friend is a potential major donor to the ministry. Like good friendships, donor relationships are built with trust, respect, truthfulness, courtesy, honesty, sympathy, joy, love, and a shared understanding of Jesus as the hope of the World. There is no greater shared interest than that of a Shared Lord and Savior.

The challenge is to make this good friend, apart from your personal friendship, a friend of the ministry. Grow this friendship with the ministry in the same ways you grow personal relationships: with a shared passion in Christ as the foundation, building trust, respect, and confidence will flourish.

Below are some ways to cultivate a friend of the ministry relationship that springs from an existing friendship or relationship. This is addressed in three phases: before any gift, growing smaller gifts to larger giving, and maintaining a friend of the ministry.

Before any Gift - Introducing your friend to the ministry is the first step to assess the potential for this relationship to grow and flourish. Assuming there is a high level of compatibility, the friend of the ministry will need to be educated about the ministry. Start by inviting them to visit the ministry and to attend special events, meetings or conferences relevant to the ministry. Show them promotional materials; mail your newsletter in a personalized envelope and with a personalized note; provide them with a copy of privileged communications about future plans, campaign development, strategic planning and ask them to provide input and suggestions. FULL POST

Posted 4/17/12 at 9:20 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

What donors are looking for in your nonprofit

Why are some nonprofit organizations having an easier time raising money than others?In this Movie Mondays video, Mark Hurtubise talks about what donors are looking for before investing their philanthropic dollars in a nonprofit organization. Mark is the President & CEO of the Inland NW Community Foundation, so not only does his organization look for certain things before investing in an organization, he also represents donors and what they want to see in an organization before making any donations.

VIDEO: What donors are looking for in your nonprofit

Some of the key insights from the video include:

“No longer can the vocabulary be around, we need. Because everybody needs.”

The question is…

  • “Do you have a strategic plan?”
  • “Do you board members donate? If they don’t donate why would we?”
  • “Are there measured outcomes?”

It has become so competitive, that organizations that have the strategic plan, that have measured outcomes, and that show the board is involved will have a much better chance of securing a donation. Donors today see themselves as investors and they are investing NOT in improving your organization but in improving people’s lives. FULL POST

Posted 4/15/11 at 9:02 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

What Does "The Giving Pledge" Mean for Your Small Nonprofit? In a Word, Nothing!

The Giving Pledge is a non-binding agreement initiated by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet to encourage the 1,000 billionaires to give generously at some point in their life or after death. So, what does The Giving Pledge mean to the nonprofit world and to your particular nonprofit specifically?

In a word, nothing.

The pledge, according to its website, "is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy."

To date, 57 billionaires in the U.S. have signed the pledge and agreed to give 50 percent or more of their wealth to charity. The pledge states that the donation can happen while the individual is alive or after the death of the donor and is not in any way a legal contract. It is really more of a friendly agreement.

I know I sound terribly cynical. I am not saying that the pledge is a bad idea, that billionaires should not decide to give, or that people should not sign the pledge. I am saying that it really will not have any great impact on giving in general and will have an even lesser impact on your particular charity.

The Giving Pledge impact on giving FULL POST

Posted 4/15/11 at 8:52 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

Using a Foundation RFP Process to Provide Grant Funding to Charities

Most foundations are small and are run with little or no paid staff. They are often created by philanthropic individuals or families who have little experience in formalized philanthropy. Often, this lack of experience leads to a disorganized approach when the foundation begins to accept funding requests from charities. A helpful way to have an organized and more strategic approach is to issue a formal Request For Proposals (RFP) that applicants then respond to by providing specific and detailed information. In this way the foundation is more likely to receive the same information from each charity and can evaluate these applicants fairly. The template below can be helpful in understanding what to include in the RFP and how the RFP can be structured for maximum efficiency.

Foundation RFP Template

Background information about the foundation and the foundation's mission

The name of the foundation, founder, address and contact information, mission, and year founded, etc.

Goals of the foundation's funding program

What are the goals of this particular grant program? Is this particular RFP focused on specific types of projects or is it a more open application process? Is there a specific problem or concern that the foundation is addressing? Are grantees expected to participate in a foundation sponsored assessment or evaluation? FULL POST

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