I recently attended a fundraising workshop sponsored by Mission Increase Foundation (an excellent organization committed to helping Christian non-profits build capacity), and the topic was how organizations manage information surrounding donors and their gifts. Our facilitator, Matt Bates, told a story about a large rescue mission that regularly received hundreds of gifts daily from donors around the world. Inside many of the checks sent to this organization were personal notes from the donors. Because all of the checks were processed in a separate office from the rest of the organization, largely by temp workers, the notes from faithful donors piled up in a corner, unread and forgotten.
As Matt reflected with us on the value of those forgotten notes and the journeys of individual donors they represent, he said this: “If you create a system that is transactional, then your relationships will become transactional.”
How true that is, really. I think about many critiques of the church today, and so much of the dissatisfaction I hear is the very thing Matt is describing. Transactional systems resulting in transactional relationships.