In our previous capital campaign, I personally met with over 40 “legacy givers” in our congregation for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, sushi, etc. These people were folks who consistently and sacrificially gave above and beyond their tithe and who might have had the potential to do the same for our building’s fund-raising effort.
Once that campaign was over, I had a chance to sit back, reflect, and process what took place.
Two things became obvious to me…
First, it was really stupid for me to try to meet with 40 people in a little over two weeks. I was emotionally spent. I was told Bill Hybels personally met with over 100 people for his latest building campaign. But Bill Hybels is not human.
Second, there’s a fine line between vision casting and manipulation when it comes to talking about money and fundraising for your church.
At one of these meetings I had to stop and ask myself, “Brian, are you buttering this guy up or are you casting vision? Why are you complimenting him? You’re not the complimenting kind of guy. Are you pretending to be his friend to simply get him to give money?”
Obviously not all of my meetings went this way, but I felt that funny feeling in my gut just enough to cause me to realize that there is a fine line between manipulating people and sharing a God-given dream.
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Differences Between Vision Casting and Manipulation
How do you know the difference?
I tell Senior Pastors that I coach that there are six key factors to help you distinguish between vision casting and manipulation when fundraising.
- When you vision cast, you aren’t afraid of discovering hesitancy on the part of the person who hears your vision. In fact, you push it out into the open. Manipulators minimize cognitive dissonance and push for a quick response.
- Vision casting involves gratitude—thanking people for their past involvement. Manipulation involves flattery.
- Vision casting allows me to stay who I am as a human being. Manipulation forces me to change from person to person (ex. becoming more outgoing, or soft-spoken, or conservative, or more cutting-edge).
- Vision casting causes me to be willing to break the relationship and lose potential involvement from a person in accomplishing the vision. Manipulation causes a leader to hold back and make compromises for the sake of money, involvement, or saving face.
- Vision casting, when properly executed, is something best done through multiple voices, not just one person. Manipulators only allow themselves to cast the vision because they tell themselves that no-one else can do it as well, when in reality, they’re simply afraid of what may happen when other fingers get into the vision cake-mix.
- Vision castors are never in a hurry. They view time as their friend and allow people time to process the vision and own it for themselves. Manipulators are anxious people who push for quick responses and settle for shallow commitment to the vision.
What have you learned that keeps the way you raise money a God-honoring process?