April 20, 2018

Project Resource

“We are doing something we've never done before. We are changing the culture of resource development in our Church to be more fruitful for God's mission.”

So boldly announce the College for Bishops, the Development Office of the Episcopal Church, and the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF), in their partnership creation called Project Resource.

This month I attended “Project Resource 2.0” as a lay member of a team from the Diocese of Northern Indiana. We registered for this intensive, 3-day course at the invitation of Bishop Doug Sparks. With Bishop Sparks, we 8 lay and clergy attendees will share our learning with parishes back home. 15 dioceses sent teams to Project Resource 2.0 held at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas.

Full disclosure: I am a trained ECF capital campaign consultant. But I learned plenty that will help me as a diocesan volunteer, as well as professionally.

Over and over, Project Resource presenters reminded us that fundraising is a ministry: “As we reconcile ourselves to God, lives are transformed in the giving of gifts to change and repair a broken world.”

This is the refreshing good news that holistically envelops Project Resource. Inside the envelope are helpful, strategic insights and practical ways to strengthen annual giving campaigns, planned giving programs, and capital/special giving opportunities. Here is a brief list of examples:

  • Incorporate “why” into every donor interaction, inviting donors to worship, to give and to serve.
  • Change the narrative of stewardship ministry from scarcity to abundance by providing stories and scriptural context.
  • Recruit stewardship leaders intentionally and provide clear responsibilities for their ministry (Project Resource offers examples).
  • Plan a communications strategy to strengthen an annual giving campaign. Be mindful that different generations are motivated differently, so diversify communications.
  • Incorporate asking for major gifts as appropriate. “How to” steps are provided. (The size of “major” is relative to your congregation).

This is barely the tip of the iceberg - so much more is packed into Project Resource training. Future courses will be available in 2019. To learn more, visit the Project Resource website.