Leader Letter

Subscribing congregations should share this letter with congregational leaders.  Being oriented to the month’s theme, and equipped to help others in the congregation get aligned with it, builds the whole congregation’s engagement with the theme.  Which, of course, means unity and energy for the community.

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Dear Friends,

This year, I've been practicing asking for money.  Years ago, when I was on the board of a non-profit, the Executive Director talked about "getting her beg on."  So, this year, I've been getting my beg on.  When I ask people for money, I'm asking for causes and efforts that I believe in.  And I'm asking them to support causes and efforts that they believe in.  Nevertheless, it means taking a deep breath, and working up a little nerve.  I'm reluctant.  I don't want to pressure other people, or to provoke guilt in them.  But, thinking more about it, I realize that, really, my reluctance is less about them than it is about me.  To ask something from others opens up vulnerability.  It puts myself in their hands.  I worry whether people will think I'm greedy.  Or pushy.  Or careless.  Last year, I attended an online fundraising workshop in which the trainer said that asking people to give money to something they support is to invite them to connect their resources to their purpose.  That made sense.  In fact, I believe it.  And I try to ask in a way that people can always say, "no."  But, recently, I've been hanging out with the thought that what they really want to do is say "yes."  People want to say yes to what means a lot to them.  They want to say yes to being part of something larger.  People want to say yes to making a difference.  So, really, the question is what level of generosity is right for them.  Like the story of the Widow's Mite in the Bible, it could be that not a lot of money actually represents a lot of generosity from a particular household.  So, it is less the amount than the meaning in the giving.  Less the amount than what the giver receives from the act.  To find oneself in the midst of giving and receiving is to find oneself in the midst of people making decisions about how they will live in the context of abundance, in the context of meaningful choices, in the context of what they will make of their lives.  So, I've felt greater ease, over time, in asking people for money.  Because, over and over, what I've seen is that, when people give, they're always glad that they did.  May your efforts at promoting giving and receiving be fruitful, and open up channels of generosity that were fallow before.

Faithfully,

Jake

Rev. Jake Morrill
Lead Minister ORUUC
Executive Director UUCF
Launchpad Partner