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Fundraising: Asking for three loaves of bread

Once upon a time, a man had unexpected guests.  He didn’t have anything to feed them!   He pounds on his friend’s door at midnight, asking for three loaves of bread.  Not just one loaf, not two loaves but three loaves. He keeps knocking until his friend gets out of bed and loans him the bread.

This story is Jesus talking about prayer  in Luke 11.  Believe it or not, Jesus commends the persistence of the man pounding on the door.

I think the story might also have something to say about fundraising.  Two recent charity conversations spring to mind.  Both charities do wonderful work that directly benefits people: one is a big institution, one is tiny.  Both are timid about asking for what they need.  The friends of these charities do not know that they need three loaves of bread (in one case, it’s a couple of million, in the other case, $25,000.) The charities do not want to annoy their friends by asking for one loaf, let alone three loaves.  Instead, the charities hope that somehow their friends will help them out without even knowing how much bread is needed!

The charities’ hospitality suffers because they are reluctant to ask their friends for bread.  If you work for a charity, consider these two questions:

  • What does our charity need exactly, and why do we need it? Who are our guests?
  • Who are our friends? Do we trust them enough to knock on their doors?

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