Select Page

Last week, a donor, Dan, wrote an exciting note to my boss, Peter. Dan and his wife had already given generously to HOPE this year, but they had an extra $15,000 for end-of-year giving and wondered if HOPE had any unmet needs remaining in 2015. For a fundraiser, emails do not get better than this.
I quickly pulled together a few options and emailed Peter about a few 2016 projects where we could use Dan’s funds. But Peter knew my response wasn’t quite answering Dan’s question. Of course we could use the funds someday—there are a number of great opportunities awaiting next year. But Dan’s question was whether or not we had met our core budget needs for this year.
What Peter and I both knew was something I, as a nonprofit fundraiser, was terrified to admit: Yes, we had met our 2015 fundraising target. In fact, because of the generosity of our supporters, it is likely we will exceed our budgeted 2015 fundraising goal. But I was nervous to admit reality that outside our nonprofit’s walls.
For nonprofits, is there ever such a thing as enough?
In 2006, I began working at HOPE as an administrative assistant. That year, less than 1,000 donors made contributions to HOPE, totaling just under $3.5 million. What’s happened since then has been remarkable. God has provided more than we ever thought possible. This year, it’s likely close to 5,000 generous supporters will give in excess of $17 million to the HOPE mission.
Each year, we prayerfully plan and budget for the forthcoming year. In the past few years, grown into new countries, Malawi and Zambia, as well as new regions within countries where we’re already working. We’ve opened new branch offices, innovated new products, and tightened up existing products. We’ve launched an aggressive impact evaluation initiative. We took larger ownership stakes in microfinance institutions in Rwanda and Burundi. We opened our first international fundraising operation in Hong Kong.
Point is, we aren’t content to plateau. We’ve worked really hard and grown really quickly. But at the end of this year, we’ve met our fundraising targets.
But, every nonprofit impulse within me bristled at the prospect of acknowledging that to Dan. Of opening the door for him to potentially decide to give that $15,000 to another organization. 2016 will be a new year, I thought. Low oil prices could mean some HOPE donors won’t have as much to give. Increased interest rates could stagnate the economy. Our 2016 budget will be higher than our 2015 budget. How will we ever raise next year’s budget?
All these thoughts, though, were dancing around Dan’s question. His question wasn’t whether or not HOPE was a good place to donate his money. He and his wife already believed deeply in our mission. The question was whether we had unmet needs during the last few weeks of 2015. We don’t.

“And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

For nonprofits, is there ever such a thing as enough?
To be frank, when Dan’s email arrived, I was thinking about storehouses, not about thankfulness. I was worrying about next year’s harvest, ignoring how plentifully God provided this year. God provided more than enough through the generosity of many of you—who were rich toward God and the work God is doing through HOPE.
In the face of our inner debate, Peter responded with a simple sentence as an act of acknowledging our reality. “We could certainly put additional investment to good use in serving more families… However, I did want you to know that it looks likely we will hit our core fundraising target this year, in case there is another organization with a greater need.”
So as we close out this year, thank you. In this brief post, I want to publicly acknowledge that we have enough. That this year God has provided, through you, beyond our needs.