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This is the third in a series of guest posts by Howard Freeman – Founder and Principal of Zoey Creative Development, a charitable giving consultancy in NYC serving both organizations and also individual philanthropists.

He is also the author of the upcoming book on online giving called, ‘Making A Difference 2.0’ (Skyhorse Publishing, May 2012) and can be reached at



During the last two segments, we’ve looked at finding more money and raising more money.

This week, we look at tending to what we’ve found and been entrusted with.

Wise farmers, and smart geneticists who deal with environmental issues, know that over-farming or farming the wrong crops can all but permanently ruin a piece of land.

Those of us in ministry who ask our people to give need to consider them not as ATMs but as living, organic beings who are created in God’s image (Gen 1), are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139) and in fact are God’s very handiwork (Eph 2:10).  If we truly took these truths to heart, we would fully engage in the top two tasks yet not fail to do the last.

Let the ground ‘lay fallow’ sometimes.

One of my favorite ministry leaders sends monthly letters that one might expect would ask for support but instead tell a story and relate one of God’s truths.  They bless me.  I look for them in the mail, and I have given to this organization simply because it refreshes me, in addition to the good work I believe it does.

Likewise, the national political campaigns that have raised the most money online since 2000 have been the ones that emphasize building community first and ask for money second.  (They want money, no doubt, but they know what must come first in donors’ minds.)  The most successful of these to date solicited one time for every nine news items or community messages.

Refresh your donors.

Thank them often.

And trust the sovereignty and goodness of God who—when you selflessly invest in the spiritual growth of your givers, whom he has made for a purpose—will provide for you to carry out your purpose as an organization.