By Mark Hofman
Deployable dollars — these are dollars used directly for the mission — for “boots on the ground” and the supplies used in the field.
As members of the Missouri Synod, we share a common interest in deploying the gifts and offerings given to the Synod out to where they can have the greatest impact on other people. Because souls are at stake, Synod staff must be both efficient and effective as stewards of the precious resources God supplies through His people. Related to deployable dollars is what has been labeled “fundraising overhead” — these are the administrative costs of raising needed dollars, a sometimes uncomfortable but necessary expense in funding the mission. Overhead costs are rightly a concern for everyone who cares about our mission. Everyone wants to see the maximum amount of his or her gift sent to fund the real mission.
I want to personally reassure you that, as Christian fundraising professionals, my team and I want as much of every gift dollar as possible to get out into the Lord’s harvest field! We want your gifts to change lives and to save lives through the Gospel of Jesus!
That’s why some things the Synod does when it petitions special financial support from households and congregations have changed and likely will change in the future. Restructuring the Synod has afforded an opportunity to reexamine our approach to soliciting, receiving and utilizing charitable gifts. We are discovering that some past practices were not best practices, while others are marvelous models of stewardship. We’re learning that we can work with you to not only fund the Synod’s work, but also help you maximize the impact of each donation the Holy Spirit leads you to give. We’re seeking the fine line between fundraising excess and starving the mission of needed resources, for the work of the Synod as a whole as well as the individual programs, services and ministry done on your behalf.
We will be using this space in future editions of Lutherans Engage the World to share what we learn and what we can do in partnership with you to boost the level of deployable dollars. I’m certain you’ll be pleasantly surprised that much of what “Steward’s Corner” shares is not about giving more, but about giving in ways that potentially increase the impact of each gift — even if the amount doesn’t increase. This is our common interest: deploying more of every gift to change lives and save lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’m eager to hear your thoughts about these things. I’m looking forward to the conversation. Drop me a note at LutheransEngage@lcms.org.
Mark Hofman is the executive director of LCMS Mission Advancement.