The question of key donors always comes up wherever I speak, teach, or coach on stewardship. It typically revolves around a few topics like these: what should and shouldn’t a pastor know about donations and issues of favoritism. It is definitely a touchy subject and one we need to shine a powerful light on. I strongly believe that senior leaders need to bear the responsibility of discipleship of key leaders and donors. Here are some thoughts to help you get in the game if you are having trouble.
1. Think in terms of key leaders and influencers, not strictly donors.
You should also think beyond current practice to historical and potential influence. Resources come in all sizes and shapes. Not everyone knows how to use or release them. Broaden the conversation beyond money.
2. People who are high impact often times can live isolated either due to their busy travel schedules or need for privacy.
However, they do desire a few solid relationships with other strong leaders. Pastors uniquely fit this role and have more influence than they may realize. Proceed with confidence.
3. Every believer needs to be discipled, and every believer needs to be serving in line with his or her gift and passion.
Somehow we get this when it comes to hospitality, encouragement, or teaching, but struggle when it comes to generosity. Doesn’t every gift need support?
4. Build the relationship first and let it be of mutual benefit.
Pastors are high capacity leaders themselves who are often isolated and without a mentor. Be friends, listen, and care. Let it become second nature to you.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask.
High capacity leaders need to be asked in a clear and specific way. They are not interested in wasting their time or resources. They respond to high challenge and a successful plan. Don’t let their busy schedules or aloof persona be intimidating.
It may be scary or seem unspiritual to you, but press through. Just as the poor need to be served so do the well resourced. I promise they have less together than you might perceive.