What Giving-Partners Teach Me in December!

Every December I phone giving partners and friends on our mailing-list—some I don’t know well. My goal is to remind as many as possible of the end-of-year appeal letter they received in early December. But I also listen and encourage—donors and non-donors.

Here are some of their words from 39 calls (so far):

  • “I’m glad you called. Carol’s funeral was yesterday.” [His wife of 64 years. I knew she had been ill.] “She was well-loved in our church and political community…900 people came to the funeral.” 


  • “Got your letter! Debbie just showed it to me. We’ll pray about what we should give.”


  • “Trying to bail out my son in his construction business. He has finally stopped drinking.”


  • “I am grateful to you and Navigators. It was at your Pizza Party that God got my attention. The gospel made me so mad, I didn’t talk to my roommates for a week. Then, alone in my room, I surrendered to Christ. Thank you.”


  • “Yes, R and I will pray about increasing your support. It was appropriate of you to ask since we’ve never increased.”


  • “What is your opinion of Millennials? They think differently than I do!”


  • “I’m retired. But I’m bored.”


  • “We’ll do something about your support. We have your letter here.” 


  • “No, sorry. We give charity gifts to our niece’s private school.”


  • “I am re-married! [His wife died in 2012.] My daughters’ said I was boring and needed to get out more. So I asked a woman in our church to give me the names of a few cute widows!”


  • “I have learned so much about myself since I got fired from my job. My job-search continues. Thank you for inquiring.” [We prayed together at the end of the call that God would lead him to a new job. I sent him a gift-coupon to take his wife and young daughter out to a fast-restaurant the next day. Don’t know why—God just put it on my heart.]


  • “Just sent an online gift. Surprised you don’t already have it.” [Got it the next day and sent a thank you.]

The takeaway is the same every year

The takeaway is the same every year: People appreciate a caring someone who will listen to them express their joy and pain.

If they don’t answer, I leave a short voice mail expressing appreciation (but no appeal) and say I will try again.

Of course, December phoning is a major part of my fundraising plan. About 30% of our support comes in December-January. But besides the funding reminders I ask questions and listen. No hurry. As appropriate, I pray briefly with them before we end the call. No one has ever said no to praying.


“Father in Heaven, thank you for these precious people I am phoning.

 Some are trying to walk with you, but others are drifting. Many are 

in pain. Will You use my phone calls to inspire each one to draw close

 to You. And if they can’t or won’t, please draw near to them this 

Christmas. Amen.”