In 23 years, it’s one of the best affirmations a donor-partner has ever shared with me. “Sorry Sam, we aren’t going to be able to help support the YEM (year-end match) this year.” That’s not a typo. It was a flat “no.” I will confess there was a time when that kind of rejection would have been a bruising blow. When my heart operated out of scarcity rather than abundance.
“Do you want to know why we can’t help SLF this year?” … he asked. I sensed something cool was coming … “It’s because we are making huge investments in two nonprofits you turned us on to.” Man, my heart was thumping when he shared that! That’s why SLF exists. To shine the light and build bridges so that other nonprofits, schools and ministries can thrive. The ‘scarcity’ mindset would say those much-needed YEM dollars went to someone else, therefore our sales pitch and our cause failed. The ‘abundance’ mindset rejoices that the dollars went exactly where they were supposed to go, and there will be other dollars intended for us. Moreover, we don’t have to make a ‘sales pitch’ to obtain them. We just need to do our work faithfully and trust people will see the value.
I got a call from another partner couple last fall. They are longtime friends and loyal monthly donors. They wanted to make a significant, ongoing investment in a worthy ministry. But not SLF. Cool—we can help! Their goal was to focus on an enterprise that would help folks “come back” from poverty, addiction, lack of education, homelessness, foster care and broken relationships. We discussed several candidates and toured one … which ended up partnering with another … and with our friends’ generous investment the new co-partnership is under way and impacting lives. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about this joint venture in the future.
SLF’s chief program is to help the programs of other nonprofits, ministries and schools thrive. We succeed when we help others succeed. We admit that’s an unconventional business model. It’s not uncommon for someone to say, “I hear lots of good things about SLF, but I’m not exactly sure what you do.” In the old days, my ‘scarcity’ days, that comment would cut to the core. Fear would whisper in my ear, “If people don’t understand SLF, they won’t like you and they won’t support you.”
But we’ve learned that the more we stay true to our assignment, the more we thrive. So we keep looking for ways to help churches serve their neighborhoods. To help schools make community connections in support of teachers and kids. To collaborate with ministries and agencies so they can increase partners, volunteers and funding. To mediate conflicts, to clear roadblocks, to make matches. Honestly, the best way to truly understand what SLF does is to join us for lunch or dessert on Friday, May 31. I hope you will reserve a spot (or a table—no cost!). Until then, Shalom—