Growing Giver’s Hearts… Treating Fundraising as Ministry – Jeavons and Basinger

Jeavons, Thomas H. and Rebekah Burch Basinger Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

This is my second reading of Growing Givers’ Hearts. Each was from a different perspective.

My first acquaintance with this book was at a time when I was in close relationship to fund development leaders. My second reading of the book has been while serving as a local church pastor. From both perspectives, I have found this a book with valuable insights.

The authors are clear that the primary audience for this book is Christian fundraisers working in Christian organizations. Specific attention is given to fund development in para-church organizations. It is also important to know that this is not a “how-to” book, either on fund development or stewardship programming.

There are other books that will be more valuable to the local church pastor and other leaders when it comes to developing a comprehensive financial stewardship emphasis. However, the value of what is offered here cannot be overlooked. What this book does provide is a reminder that growing giving cannot be separated from growing the spiritual life of givers. The authors cite one local stewardship committee as reporting, “The journey we’ve started on will take years because we are trying to build a faith community.”

As a local church pastor I particularly appreciated the glimpses into the thoughts and feelings of those donors who were approached for gifts. Translated into the local congregation these comments served as a reminder that givers are persons seeking to make connections between their faith and giving, not merely “ATM machines.” This book encourages leaders to continually look beyond “bottom line” (goals and budgets) thinking and give attention to financial stewardship ministry as opportunities for spiritual growth and disciple formation.

The chapter on “A Brief History of Christian Fundraising” is concise and excellent for those looking to put current practices in perspective. Citations and references also provide rich background for those wanting to dig deeper.

For fund development leaders in Christian organizations this is a “must read” as it is for any who are considering such a ministry. It places such ministry clearly in terms of “calling.” Many local congregational stewardship leaders may find that this text starts too far away from their situation. However, those leaders who are willing to “do the work” to make the connections between fundraising and stewardship education will find valuable insights for discussion – particularly on the spiritual formation possible in giving ministries.

Reviewed by Ed Taylor, pastor, First Christian Church, Gibson City, IL.