Perspective

Collaborative giving 101: Are you called to this?

What if the global Great Commission could be fulfilled in our generation? What if communities of believers gathered together in every tribe and nation to fund great work like this together? There are some who believe this is possible if we plan our giving together.

From the U.S. to Madagascar to the Czech Republic, givers are coming together, breaking bread, praying, learning, laughing, and realizing the power and potential of collaborative giving. Rather than adding impact, they’re multiplying it!

Collaborative giving is a part of biblical history, going all the way back to the construction of Solomon’s Temple in the Old Testament and the distribution of aid in the Acts Church. God has often called his people to be generous together when a great task lay ahead. This story continues today, and you may be called to play an important role. Across Europe, multiple giving collaborations are fueled by a desire to see a reversal in the decline of the believing Church on the continent. Guided by the Holy Spirit, families have begun collaborating to fund evangelism and discipleship in their nations, mobilizing financial resources while building Christian fellowship in the process.

In the U.S., a group of givers have the audacious goal of translating Scripture into every language on planet Earth. They gather to share and learn about “Bible poverty” (lack of access of to Scripture in a particular language) and the latest innovations in translation, and they give together to solve this problem forever.

In Dallas, young professionals gather to pray, learn about strategic giving, and collaborate in their generosity. These 20- and 30-somethings, just launching their careers, have now mobilized approximately $1 million for kingdom causes in their community, all while building friendships and growing closer to Jesus Christ together.

There are dozens more groups like these, each as compelling as the last, with God’s fingerprints on them all.

We believe that God is calling more of these generous leaders to build communities that are generous together – Christians who gather to share life, stories, prayers, and strategies, and give to solve the pressing issues they see around them.

The Maclellan Foundation has been studying collaborative giving, seeking to understand what works, what doesn’t, and what opportunities exist for the body of Christ to engage this method of giving. We’ve been encouraged to see how NCF givers are playing a leading role in the formation of collaborations around the nation, as key families come together to partner with their local teams in crafting new approaches to kingdom work.

Is collaboration for me?

Those who choose to collaborate in giving tend to be busy people who nonetheless choose to make margin in their schedule for giving in community. There is often a sense of calling. They possess a strong desire for impact, a heart to grow with and learn from peers, and a relatively high giving capacity.

In the right context, collaboration brings several advantages.

Just as a team of scientists will go further than a single researcher, a team of givers learns more rapidly than a giver acting alone.

  • Fellowship: Faithful generosity, like any virtue, takes endurance and fortitude. The joyful fellowship of peers inspires new giving and brings joy to giving. A joyful community also provides a wonderful onramp to new givers who are stepping into biblical generosity journey.
  • Strategic insight: Collaboration in giving allows for great learning to occur. Just as a team of scientists will go further than a single researcher, a team of givers learns more rapidly than a giver acting alone.
  • Sustainability: A group of givers can work toward solving a problem for the long haul, without dependence upon the commitment level and financial status of one single donor.
  • Efficiency: The staff necessary to run a world-class giving operation is expensive. For most individual givers, the cost makes it unreasonable. But in a collaborative community, the group can collectively afford resources that any one giver could not, sharpening and strengthening the overall giving of the group.
  • Systemic impact: Some large-scale issues are best solved by a coordinated, high-level approach.

Collaboration, like all good things, requires commitment and persistence for success. Talented administration is necessary, and a catalytic leader will need to deploy social capital to gather and sustain the group. Our research provides a window into how to launch and sustain a successful collaboration, and we’re happy to share more with those who are interested in learning. We’ve observed what causes groups to succeed or flounder, and we’ve identified the key steps groups must take to achieve clarity of purpose and execute their vision.

Next steps

We invite you to prayerfully consider whether collaborative giving is for you. To dig deeper, you can reach the authors via Info@generoustogether.org. They are happy to share two brief documents that walk step-by-step through the background and launch process for giving collaborations. And they’d be delighted to brainstorm with you about your journey into collaborative giving and how you might connect with your local NCF team.

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