Meet Your Mission
But among volatile issues, religion and politics — even individually — top the list. So when you combine them, you run the risk of alienating potential donors who have issues with politics, or with religion, or with the two cuddling up side by side, even for a good cause.
“Bread for the World is committed to changing the political will to ... reduce and, ultimately eliminate, hunger. Many people in the broader society share this vision and hope,” Miller explains. “A major problem is the divisive political environment in our country and the absence of strong leadership to address these life issues for millions of people.”
FundRaising Success: What are your toughest fundraising
Steven Miller: Perhaps the most difficult is the explanation of Bread for the World’s mission. Volunteers who do fundraising for us consistently say how hard it is to convey that government plays an important role in ending hunger. Direct-feeding programs demonstrate immediate results. Lobbying to end hunger can get tied up in the messiness of politics, and the gratification of success is often delayed. The challenge of presenting a concise, engaging case is a big one.
Another challenge is the subliminal separation of church and state in this country. Many people aren’t quite sure that public-policy advocacy and faith are connected. However, once someone “gets” it, they’re overwhelmingly loyal and generous and active.
FS: What needs to be done to overcome them?
SM: We try to personalize the message and present compelling stories of the results that extend beyond the policy or appropriations victories. An increase in poverty-focused development assistance is more than an increase in appropriations. It is education for women that results in empowered lives and less hunger. It’s an HIV/AIDS clinic built in a remote village in Africa. It’s better trade policies and programs that allow small farmers and craftsmen to improve their income through increased trade opportunities.