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Inspired Development by Randy Bronkema

Randy Bronkema's Articles

A Live and Vibrant Board

My business revolves around helping Christian nonprofits become the best they can be. Over the years I have learned that reaching that goal can become difficult when many moving parts have to work as one—including the board of directors. I repeatedly find two types of boards: “Great Asset” Boards and “Great Drain” Boards. The Great Drain Boards sadly empty the organization of the energy it needs through their own micromanaging. Unfortunately, I have personally witnessed more of the latter. Nobody joins a board thinking, “How can I slow down the growth and energy of this mission?” But, somewhere along the line, so many boards fall into this pattern. However, I have also seen boards that are a great asset—those that give life and courage to the ministry and its leaders. These boards include people that still believe in servant leadership and choose to lead by example. And let me tell you, this is an amazing thing to witness! Identifying what makes one boar ...

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Change Your Language; Change Your Perspective

A few weeks ago, I went out of town to visit a client. On my way to the airport I received a call from a friend who asked where I was going. I said, with a note of resignation in my voice, “Oh, I’m headed to Boise, Idaho. I have to consult with a client.” When I hung up, it hit me. I just said that I have to consult; but really, I get to consult. How many people would gladly do this for free—or even pay for the opportunity? Yet I was getting paid to do it. “I have to” is the language of duty. While there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself; I often say it with a sigh, as if I’m a victim of a terrible crime. Language of Privilege On the other hand, “I get to” applies the language of privilege. Using this phrase acknowledges the gift I’ve been given and helps me recognize the opportunities in the tasks. This subtle shift may seem small. However, it made a significant impact on my attitude. It has impacted me so much that I am choosing the language of privilege every chance I get. I don’t ha ...

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I Choose Another Way

All my life I have dealt with this emotion in me called passion. This emotion arises as my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. My passion draws people to me and what pushes people away. I have heard things like: “Calm down. You come on too strong. You’re turning people off….” There were times when it seemed risky to be authentic and put my greatest strengths in the same room with my greatest weaknesses. If criticized, it would not be my work but my soul that was called into question. I had to ask myself if it was worth it. I once gave a presentation to a potential client. When I finished, the client told me that I came on too strong. After the meeting the potential client became nervous about working with me and we lost the contract. I felt hurt and thought what they said must ring true. Maybe I really did come on too strong. I was angry and began to doubt myself, asking questions like: “How can I speak differently? How can I calm down, slow down, attract more people, alienate less people?” More ...

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Building Inspired People

Mentoring is close to my heart. One conviction of mine holds us, as leaders, responsible for helping people realize their unique, God-given mission. Because of that conviction, I want to share some ideas I have about mentoring because I see things happening in our organizations that stifle progress and effectiveness. Consider the different roles that mentoring could have in your organization. Recognition In my travels to different ministries I see people who are tired and overworked. I see those same issues with your major donors. Have you taken the time to recognize those around you for their work and talent? Recognition powerfully reinforces talents and gifts in individuals and strengthens them to persevere and excel. When people work in areas that focus on their strengths, they become excited about their work, rather than burnt out. Everyone likes recognition, even me! It is such an important and simple way to energize your team. Encouragement Leaders make us believe that we can achieve something t ...

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A New Year, a Great Time to Dream!

Happy New Year everyone! With the start of this brand new year each of us should ask ourselves a very important question: Why did your donors choose to give their money to support your cause? As leaders and fundraisers for our organizations, we need to not only ask this question but we also need to learn how to answer it. We know that the Holy Spirit leads his people to give based on three factors: Need, Relationship, and Vision. So, let’s start there. XYZ Ministry Needs It Did you know that the lowest percentage of giving is based upon need? Only 8% of the Evangelical Christians who give, give in order to be the answer to a particular need. However, in my work with fundraising people, I see that most of our organizations function in a “high needs world”. Our needs are real and tangible, so we talk more about them than we do anything else. This approach worked 20 years ago with the World War II generation, but that generation, and that mindset, has passed. I Know Peter Sometimes people, about 20%, ...

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This Holiday Season Remember To Listen

"The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people."  — Woodrow Wilson Major gift fundraising is more about listening than talking. You’ve seen it and know that it is true—the fundraiser who talks too much tends to fail. At times it is hard to draw a line between expressing our passion and including people into our vision. We tend to talk more, where we feel in control and comfortable. But we soon find that we’ve left everyone behind—including the major donor we want to realize our vision. We become so passionate about our cause that we forget fundraising is about relationships and relationships are about listening. Monologue or Dialogue? How do you feel when your friend talks too much and doesn’t listen to you? We have to imagine our donors feel the same way. Remember the art of fundraising is about building relationships, not about asking for money. If you can understand and believe in this concept, fundraising becomes fun. Furthermore, if we build relationships by listeni ...

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Relationship Means Everything!

Here are some amazing statistics about our donors by Growing Philanthropy in the United States (Adrian Sargeant): (Out of 100 donors) · 4% move away or die · 15% decide to make gifts to other organizations · 15% are unhappy with our organizations · 66% think we don't care about them or believe that their gift wasn't meaningful to our organizations These are not very uplifting statistics. Let’s examine why donors feel this way. Then we can determine to be the generation that changes the numbers! These numbers demonstrate that we are not building relationships with those we call on for help. I cannot stress enough the impact that building relationships will have on our donors and our organizations. When we engage in relationships with our donors we will hear that they give because they believe in our mission and they desire to be a part of something real; something that makes a difference. The reach of our organizations are bigger than we realize and we need to make the decision to put the donor’s ne ...

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Are You A Leader With Courage?

We live in an economy of fear and uncertainty. An economy that tempts us to be afraid as well; an economy that taunts us when we think about generating excitement and slows us from starting a capital campaign. I want to remind you to be strong and courageous. Remember that we serve a God that is not bound by our economy and a Savior who is never unsure about our future. Take heart, and do not give up! I know that it is challenging right now, but often where there is fear, there is also great opportunity. Courage Like David Consider how David’s leadership was established through his courage, during a time of great uncertainty and fear. Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. I Samuel 17:10-11 And notice the effect his courage had on others to act courageously: When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the ...

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Leadership Is About Servanthood

Leadership includes so many components. When done with purpose, servanthood can work as a catalyst for change and growth inside of each organization. I recently heard a story about one of my heroes, Tony Dungy, former coach for the Indianapolis Colts. A chaplain who had been invited to lead a pregame chapel service relayed this story. Tony Knows His Players. The chaplain had decided to arrive early. He walked into the chapel and saw the coach moving around the room, setting up the chairs for the service. He immediately offered to help Tony get things ready. But, the response was different than he expected because Tony refused the help. “No thanks,” he said, “I like to do this by myself. I know where each man sits. I know what each one is going through and how each one is hurting. I pray over each man’s chair as I set it up.” I am sure the chaplain was moved by the picture of a head coach setting up chairs for his men in order to truly serve them in the most important ways. I know that I was moved. Th ...

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Mission Driven

Do you go to work in the morning and feel, well, like you are going to work? Remember when you first took this job or started your organization? Remember how excited you were, how hopeful and inspired you felt? Sometimes I have trouble staying there. Sometimes I forget to remember the yesterday that started this whole thing. Sometimes nothing seems as important as getting to the tomorrow that never seems to come. Stop and Think The other day someone encouraged me to stop and think about what it is that drives me to complete my right now. What focuses me to look forward with expectation to what is next? What is it that gives me the courage to keep dreaming? That thing is my mission. Whatever that thing is for you is your mission. Power in the Questions · Why do we do what we do? · Why is what we do so important? · Why do we exist? · Why did God place us here? · Why are we to accomplish this particular task? We can find so much perspective, wisdom, and hope that comes through answering these que ...

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  1. Re: What is Your Purpose?

    Putting the passion back into in our ministries! Great message, Randy! Paul summed up our participation...

    -- Will Stevens

Inspired Development
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About Randy

I've spent most of my life helping non-profit organizations pursue their vision. My passion is to help non-profits reach their communities and grow discipleship through development.

My work with Christian universities, Christian academies, missions groups, radio stations and local churches really gets me going. Underneath all the work is a real desire to see leaders grab hold of the opportunity God has given them.

Whether major gift development, annual fund plans or donor strategy, I rely on many of the business disciplines from the corporate workplace at JC Penney and Amway Corporation.

I enjoy working with young men to become strong leaders in their families, workplaces and churches. I started The Timothy Project a few years ago to work with men in my local community.

You can find out more about how I help non-profit organizations and how to contact me here.

Thanks for commenting on my blog,