April 6, 2018

The Power of Discernment

In my previous career, Fran (my coworker) and I were developing products and services to help obese people lose weight, and had prepared to meet with a woman named Susan to learn about how well the health negatives of obesity were understood. Susan was a large woman, and happily quoted all the standard health reasons we had prepared to hear – nothing new to learn. As we were finishing, Fran asked about where Susan’s kids were today. Susan began tearing up. When she regained her composure, she said: “They went to King’s Island (local amusement park) with friends – I just wish I was able to fit on the rides with my kids.” This started a much deeper conversation where we learned what really drove her desires, and the help she needed to accomplish them.

Conversations like this are the core of the discernment process in Capital Campaigns. Leadership uses foresight to create a vision and project plan, and discernment draws out further insight from the community. Gaining this insight allows you to create a collective project plan understood by the community and considering the input of all stakeholders. Fran and I knew what solutions we wanted to offer, but only in listening to Susan did we understand why she might want those solutions and what other solutions she needed, creating a more effective plan for her.

No summary of Susan’s comments by a consultant interviewer could have conveyed the raw emotion – we needed to see that first hand.

ECF Capital Campaign consultants design conversations and other communication methods to draw out this insight from the communities we work with. We can do interviews, but deeper meaning comes when we train local facilitators to lead these discussions and to capture the insights. It is highly encouraged that leaders making decisions join in directly in these discussions with hands on participation – like Fran and I did.

Discernment is a wonderful opportunity for reflection, fellowship and the collective refinement of your mission. When leaders join in, your community will gain confidence that leadership has really heard their views, and in turn, the leadership will gain a much deeper perspective of what God is calling you to do when you choose the next steps of a Capital Campaign.

People give most generously from their hearts; don’t miss the opportunity to have your heart stirred by directly hearing the hopes, dreams and emotions of your community.

To learn more about ECF’s Capital Campaign services, click here.