Our fundraising event is now over. From a certain standpoint it was a success. That is;
- We had more guests than we thought we would - about 150.
- Most of them enjoyed the evening
Now, that may seem like whining, or self-pity. For a short time it may have been, but not now. My thoughts are the same, but now they are a rational reflection on reality. And this being my diary, I get to express them, emphasizing once again that they are my own, not those of Alpha Ministries.
I made a 15 minute presentation on Alpha; what it is and how it changes lives and contributes to a better society. The presentation was well received, even receiving spontaneous applause in two or three places. But the response in returned giving envelopes was disappointing. Obviously, I do thank those who did give, those who support me regularly, and those who might still, as a result of the event. But at the end of the evening one of my friends who help plan and prepare the event gave me a short debriefing, mentioning what I might have done better, and I see now that he may have been correct.
Here are a couple of ways I believe I fell short;
- I didn't give enough specific time for people to fill out the donation slips at the tables. I was told afterwards that at the end of the evening I should have said something like, "Now take 5 or 10 minutes to fill out your donation slips and pass them to one person at the table. Frankly, this feels manipulative to me. Perhaps I'm naïve, but I felt (and really still do feel) that we should rely on God touching people's hearts to convict them to give.
- I wasn't specific enough about the need. I felt I was fairly direct, emphasizing that our ministries depended on their giving, but perhaps I should have said something like, "Our salaries depend 100% on your givings, and if not enough people see the value on our ministries, and the parts we play in them, then you may next see us greeting at Wal-Mart."
- I snuck in a prayer showing how one might give their life to Christ. It was in the context of my relating how my friend Laurier prayed such a prayer with a young Native man in the Fort Saskatchewan Jail, when we ran Alpha there. I quoted the whole prayer for the benefit of non-Christians in the room but I think now I should have explained it just a bit more fully and emphasized that it is a prayer anyone could pray for themselves at any time.
Okay - so much for the self pity. The devotional on our Alpha Canada Monday conference was about faith, from Hebrews chapter 11. This is often known this as the, "Faith Hall of Fame," but the last two verses I found very convicting:
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.None of them received what God had promised immediately, but God had something better for them in the future. And here am I complaining that I didn't receive immediate gratification. I should be embarrassed at what I have written above, but to make the point I just tried to make, I will let it stand.
And maybe we'll see you at Wal-Mart if that is God's will.