Petrus Development Show Episode 18 – Jason Simon: Path to My Salvation

Interview with Jason Simon The Petrus Development Show

Evangelical Catholic has been forming missionary disciples since the early 1990s. The Evangelical Catholic works nationally to support dioceses parishes and university campus ministries to lead self-sustaining evangelization movements through their customized coaching service and online learning management system. Evangelical Catholic currently works with over 100 Catholic ministries across the nation. Jason Simon is the President of Evangelical Catholic. In this episode he discusses his journey through Evangelical Catholic, his faith journey, and how that relates not just to fundraising but to running an organization.



Show Notes:

From Wisconsin
Grew up protestant
His wife was Catholic and he tried to convert her when they were dating. Her efforts and the mentorship of the founder of Evangelical Catholic, Tim Cruz, made an impact on him and lead to his conversion.
Married for 21 years. He and his wife have 6 kids.

When Jason began at Evangelical Catholic he and his wife were finishing up the master of Divinity at Notre dame
Both hired as co-executive directors
He was given access to start managing their books and discovered they had no money. Called president of the board, who said this is why he was hired, to raise them money. So he discovered his primary role would be in development.
He was very anxious and kept praying about how he would raise this money. He knew the Lord was calling them to it and they couldn’t back out.
A trip to Colorado showed him closeness of our Blessed Mother and our Lord. Knew Mary would take care of him.
He decided to just attack the phones. Had 100 names on a list and asked everyone for $100/month.
Says he didn’t really know what he was doing. Just networked out from friends.
North Carolina offered a lot of support initially.
Great ideas, passion, and tenacity can sometimes go a lot further than the science of it
Face to face appointments important!
When your back is against the wall and you’ve got to get bills paid, you manage to raise the money
Evangelical Catholic had an institute, retreats, home groups, small groups on campus and in parishes (these are the things he talked about with potential donors)
He has a background in youth ministry and campus ministry
When he came on board he scaled back the diocesan work and moved forward with national campus ministry work.
Spent his first year working on getting monthly gifts. Discovered the beautiful, ministerial work that is involved in development. It’s natural to talk about children, faith, etc, and get very intimate and personal with people. He doesn’t feel as though he has stopped doing ministry. He loves it. It is a ministry. We don’t just call it that to make it more palatable.
Eventually stopped receiving diocesan funds, and the following year his startup donor notified him that he felt called the moved his money into other start ups. But he gave them the time they needed to raise the money to replace him.
Unexpected things like this and the Lord keeping you at the brink keeps you poor, poor in spirit. He says remaining needy and constantly dependent on the Lord pleases the Lord.
It’s hard work but it’s really good!
Your donors have a heart for the Lord and keep you accountable
Realized he’s never going to be comfortable. Always making promises to donors, which he has to then go make happen. Constant back and forth between an aggressive and inspiring vision which you just implement
In a non profit space : perpetual state of discomfort. You’re never fully satisfied, taken care of, or done. Likewise, God has a vision that he wants us to bring to completion. He always wants to reach more of the lost, take care of more of the poor. He is not satisfied but yet, is at peace. Since he has realized this, he has never desired a state of comfort. It is invigorating to be a part of that tension.
12 years since he began. They have grown to 20 staff members and a $2.2 million budget. They have ministry partners who gave signed contracts and pay fees in addition to development.
Largest gift last year was $150,000. That donor initially was asked for $5000 and then a $5000 matching gift later. The following year he asked for a two year commitment of $25,000 and after that, asked them for a two year commitment of $100,000. Saw his donor annually and spoke with him quarterly.
Over time trust is built with donors. Development is about building a relationship and moving at your donor’s pace.
There is the possibility to use people as a means to an end, but the Lord can purifies your intentions

Currently working with 110 ministries. Goal is to have 200 ministries by 2021. Interested in partnering with dioceses and archdioceses. Working with military bases and are expanding there. Believes Catholic soldiers and veterans can be great leaders in this area. Have translated all of their materials into Spanish. Hope to expand into Latin America.

Rely on high caliber lay leadership working alongside a parish priest. This is a hurdle for military bases, Latin American parishes, and smaller parishes.

Developing a lot of digital resources because they are scalable.

Recent success story: One parish in imperial valley in California. Poor area. Migrant workers. Parish was struggling to engage people. Media had dampened people’s faith. A donor paid to have everything translated. Our Lady of Guadalupe small groups are reaching out and bringing people back.
As baptized believers we should be on the offensive. We can attack the gates of Hell as baptized believers in Christ.
Success in this parish. Gives him hope because it was not in English, not at a wealthy parish, didn’t have a full time staff member.

Recommends: Gallup strengths finder materials and Julie Morgenstern’s Never Check Email in the Morning
– Great habit
– She encourages you to stay close to the revenue line
– He spends the bulk of his day working

Lightning Round:

Fundraise for any organization?: Young Jesuit order – grassroots. Innovative took of the spiritual exercises. 16th century

Donor meeting with anyone?: Bono

Enough money for every organization doing good work?: “Oh yeah!” Plenty for the organizations that God wants to thrive

Offer past self one piece of advice: God provides. He doesn’t worry anymore because he can look back and see God’s provision. Don’t waste time worrying.

3 people who have most influenced your growth as a development professional: Mnsgr. Kevin Holmes, pulled him out of engineering and into ministry. Development Director at St. Paul’s University Catholic Centerville Scott Hackell: development coach, mentor and friend. Author Julie Morgenstern

This has been the path to his salvation.


Show Transcript:

Andrew: Well howdy everyone! And welcome back to another season of The Petrus Development Show. I’m your host, Andrew Robison, and I’m thrilled that you’re joining us for season two. We’ve got a lot of great topics and discussion points and guests lined up for you. We’re going to be changing up the format a little bit this season. First season was a great experience for all of us. We learned a lot. We learned a lot from our guests. But then we also learned about this podcasting medium and it’s been a lot of fun but we’ve certainly put our brains together to think about how we can make this season even better. So you’ll notice some changes. Some of them will be subtle and some a little bit more obvious. But our hope is that we can continue to serve you better and that we can continue to inform engage and inspire you to go out and raise more money for your ministries. So on that note our first episode this season is with a good friend of mine, Jason Simon. Jason is the president of Evangelical Catholic and just a little bit about that organization: Evangelical Catholic has been forming missionary disciples since the early 1990s. The Evangelical Catholic works nationally to support dioceses parishes and university campus ministries to lead self-sustaining evangelization movements through our customized coaching service and online learning management system. Evangelical Catholic currently works with over 100 Catholic ministries across the nation. And I won’t spoil it because Jason has a lot of really great stuff especially about when he came into the organization 12 years ago as co executive director with his wife what he expected coming into the role and then what he found. We talked a lot about that. It was a great conversation. We also talked about his learning how to go out and fundraise. He came into a situation with the Evangelical Catholic where they needed money desperately and they needed funding. And Jason really didn’t know exactly how to go out and do it. But he taught himself development just by doing it. And getting out there and what he called “grinding” which I’m sure we’ve all been in that space before where you just have to sit down, work the phones, get meetings, and go and ask people for money and support your organization. So I was really inspired to hear Jason talk about the history of evangelical Catholic and his experience and then also we talked a lot about what they’re doing now how the organization has been transformed through philanthropy through a couple of key donors and building that base of support, and now what they’re able to accomplish. Really great episode and I really hope that you enjoy it. And also, as part of the formatting changes, stick around till the end and I will give you my three key takeaways from the episode; what I thought was most impactful and interesting. Also I will give you one key piece of advice that you can put in place in your organization today to be more successful in raising money. So without further ado here’s my conversation with Jason Simon…

Andrew [00:00:00] Well howdy everyone. Thanks for joining us for another episode of the Petrus Development Show. Thrilled to be here with a good friend of mine Jason Simon who is the President of Evangelical Catholic and Jason and I are going to talk about his journey through Evangelical Catholic, his faith journey, how that relates to not just to fundraising but to running an organization, and I think that there’s going to be a lot of really great stuff that comes out of this. And I’m really excited. So Jason I appreciate you being here and I’ll kick it over to you. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to this point in your life.

Jason [00:00:32] Great Andrew it’s great to be here. Really appreciate the chance to talk with you more about development and leadership. I grew up in Wisconsin. I grew up a Protestant boy did not have any interest in becoming Catholic until I met my beautiful wife who was Catholic. And over time I tried to convince her to become Protestant but she valiantly resisted. One day gave me a apologetics book about the Catholic Church that I read a year later. And after reading it became open to becoming Catholic but I still hadn’t met anyone beyond her who inspired me as a Catholic until I met the founder of the Evangelical Catholic, whose name is Tim Cruz and he became a mentor of mine and he had been a Protestant minister grew up Catholic became a Protestant minister and then came back to the Catholic faith. So he mentored me into the church along with a good example of my wife and a few other books. So I’ve always had an allegiance to the work of the Evangelical Catholic because it had a huge impact on my life and I’m very blessed to be Catholic and very privileged to be able to grow old with the church in the sacraments. So I’m happy that the Evangelical Catholic existed and impacted me in such a crucial part of my journey.

Andrew [00:02:00] That’s awesome. Well it’s it’s amazing how many people I talk with that are leaders in the Catholic Church who are converts who have a great conversion story like yourself. You know I grew up a cradle Catholic. My dad was a deacon I tell people all the time. I grew up in the sacristy of the church. I was an altar server as soon as I could be. So I don’t have that conversion story but I’m always you know just so impressed with people who that that is their story and that’s how they got to where they are. And I think that what a great testament to the work that God can do in our lives and when He does you know doesn’t matter where our background is doesn’t matter where we’re coming from you know a Protestant background or a non faith background and then lights that fire so that we want to go out and spread the word. And so I think that’s great. And then tell us a little bit you’ve got a pretty large family right. Couple of kids?

Jason [00:02:47] I do. I have six kids. My wife and I. So I eventually married that woman that I started dating in high school. And we now have six kids. We’ve been married for 21 years and we live in Madison Wisconsin. Now I grew up with one sister small family and she grew up with 14 brothers and sisters. So we we struck a middle ground.

Andrew [00:03:12] OK. Yeah that’s funny that the compromise is six kids. Yeah. That’s great. Good. So I want to talk now about Evangelical Catholic. So you’re President of the organization and I know that that’s a switch from your previous role as Executive Director but probably not much of a switch but just a title change. But tell us about kind of how did you you said you got involved thanks to Tim and his work. But let’s go back to the beginning. I want to talk about…because a lot of what our listeners are interested in is how do we build programs? And whether you’re building a fundraising program or whether you’re building a whole organization. And so I want to kind of go back to the beginning. Tell us what it was like when you came on. Because I know you were in ministry at that point. What was that experience like sort of moving into Evangelical Catholic and what were some of those early days like?

Jason [00:03:57] My wife and I were finishing the Masters of Divinity program at Notre Dame and we were looking for jobs really for campus ministry jobs primarily but we are also open to working for a parish or a diocese and in the middle of our search the board of directors for the Evangelical Catholic called us at home one day and they said they were all meeting at a cottage and they had decided they wanted to hire us and we knew all of them well because the Evangelical Catholic was just this little start up organization and like all startups you have all these volunteers circling the wagons and helping to get this thing off the ground. We wrote articles in the beginning for newsletters and my wife and I were both very active and so an interview was not really necessary. They just decided that they wanted to hire us and so they made the offer. They asked us how much money we needed to make. We told them and they said, “Done!..You’re the new Co-Executive Directors!” And we were excited. We’re excited to share the role as kind of our vision for our family at least in the beginning to share the role. And I was working as an engineering associate part time for a firm. So they asked if I would quit my engineering job and take over the books of the Evangelical Catholic just to get to know the organization know we were stepping into. I said yes. So they sent me the quickbooks file and I opened it up one day and I’ll never forget it. I opened it up and looked at their money situation and their balance sheet and cash flow and they they had no money. They had no money and they had two full time employees and they barely had enough money to pay them. And now they’ve just committed to our salary. And I called the president of the board and I said, “Jeffrey, you have no money…You just committed you know a salary to my wife and I as the Co-Executive Directors, but you have no money.” And he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and in a very professor sort of way said, “Yes Mr. Simon. Well this is why we hired you. To go get money.” And so I did not fully understand that my role would be primarily development coming in but the board of directors understood that and I guess trusted that my wife and I would quickly learn how to raise money. We had no experience in development at all at the time. And so I started praying it was April of 2007 and I was taking over my wife and I were taking over in July. So I had a few months to start praying hard about raising money. And that’s what started the journey.

Andrew [00:06:49] And so what did you do when you realized you needed to raise money? How did you go out and start asking people did you send a couple of letters? Did you knock on somebody’s door and they happened to be the…? Tell us a little bit about how that process went.

Jason [00:07:03] Yeah. So I had a few months like I said and all I did during that time was finish my schooling and pray. I prayed a lot. I was very anxious just riddled with worry about what we were going to do. I kept feeling the Lord assure me that He was with us. I found great consolation in the Psalms. Great consolation in Exodus. We just had in the readings where Moses says if you’re not going to go with us don’t send us. Those readings. Isaiah: Here I am. Send me. All of these call narratives were really speaking to me. I knew the Lord was calling us to this so we never thought about backing out but we knew we had to dig in and raise money. We went on a trip to Colorado right before we started in June we were in Colorado. I went for a hike by myself and just a beautiful encounter with the Lord and more specifically with our Blessed Mother up on the mountain. And I really felt…I grew up Protestant and so my Marian devotion was not strong at the time…And I came around a corner and I just felt like our Blessed Mother was with me and I felt complete peace. I felt surrounded by the Lord’s care and I felt like I didn’t hear a word but I just felt like it was a message from the Lord that, “I’m with you” in a real way. Not just in the words of scripture, which were consoling me, but in a very real way. “I’m with you.” And our Blessed Mother just telling me she’s gonna take care of our family and so that was a beautiful moment right before I started. So July 1 or so I started and I told my wife I am just going to attack the phones. I didn’t know anything else to do. I knew we had a great mission. I knew the church needed what we did. And I had a list of you know about 100 people that I brainstormed that I could call you know alumni that I had worked with at the University of Wisconsin, people I had met at Notre Dame, friends of my parents, friends of her parents and me and I just I brainstormed a hundred names that I could call and I got all their phone numbers and I told my wife, “I’m not coming home for…” I can’t remember what…I think I stayed at work you know three to four nights a week. And I just cranked the phones in the evenings and that’s all I did and my goal…my ask of everybody was a hundred bucks a month because, like I said I didn’t know any of the science of development. I didn’t know anything about wealth engine. I didn’t know anything about prospecting anybody. All I knew is if they believe in us they can give us a hundred a month. And if I can start getting thousand dollar gifts in the door I’ll take it. And so I just cranked and some people said, “Well we can give 250 a month.” And they gave more. A lot of people said, “Well we can’t do a hundred. We can do twenty five.” And I said, “Great.” And I just worked the phones. And so I did that all year worked through those hundred names you know until I got a yes or no I just kept calling. And my rule was I’m going to call and leave three messages with them. And if I still don’t hear back then I’ll wait a couple of months and then I’ll call and leave three more messages. And I always tried to get personal appointments with them to ask them face to face and not ask on the phone but if they were…a lot of the early people I called were in North Carolina because we had some alumni down there and so I would ask them on the phone instead of taking a trip. But those initial donors got us through that year and then they started being the place that you know again I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had some advice I was getting from Tim, the founder, who had raised a decent amount of money for some other ministries but I just basically kind of networked out from friends and so someone started giving in North Carolina then one of the first things I did is, “Well, this is great! Thank you so much!” I think they gave either five or ten thousand when I called them and asked because he was on staff at Duke University. And so I asked if he would host a gathering for us, which he did. So my wife and I flew down with our two kids and we had a gathering down there with a lot of other people. And to this day North Carolina probably has the second largest clump of supporters for us just because of the networking we’ve done down there right from the beginning.

Andrew [00:11:41] Wow. Well for saying you didn’t really know what you were doing it sounds like you were..you brought some great ideas and some solid passion to it. And sometimes that tenacity…that goes a lot further than actual science sometimes it’s just being willing to not give up until you get a yes or no…I think is really powerful.

Jason [00:11:57] You just grind. You Just grind. It’s easy to grind when you got to pay bills and…I knew every month the amount of money I had to raise to give myself a paycheck after I had paid for…well one of the employees left when we came on board. But the other one stayed. So we paid him first and then we were the second and the last paycheck to go out. And so I knew what I had to make every month to be able to pay ourselves and pay our mortgage. And so yeah you grind when you’re when your back’s up against the wall. At it was great great lessons for me to learn just like you said the importance of tenacity and call and ask and if you can get face to face appointments with people because it’s a completely different meeting than over the phone.

Andrew [00:12:50] What kind of work was Evangelical Catholic doing at the time? What were you telling these donors that they were supporting?

Jason [00:12:55] At the time we had a large institute that we did every year. And I think in 2008 Father, at the time, Robert Barron, was coming to keynote and I believe Francis Beckwith from Baylor University was coming to keynote. He had just written his book on going from being an Evangelical Protestant to Catholic. So we had these kind of two sexy keynotes coming up. I had to raise money for them for that conference. We subsidize that conference about $12,000 a year. So I was raising money for that and part of the twelve thousand was my salary and my wife’s to coordinate the conference. We were doing speaking events, we were doing retreats for campus ministries at the time. We also had a large diocesan initiative that we were doing to launch small groups in parishes in the Diocese of Madison. So locally I was telling the story about our work with the diocese, nationally I was telling the story about our institute with these big name keynotes and we were going to have about 300 people come and be inspired for evangelization, be equipped to launch small groups in their home ministries. So it was gonna have a national impact. Some people wanted to hear about the retreats I was leading. I was traveling a lot, leading retreats or workshops for college students to help campus ministers equip the students for mission outreach on campus?

Andrew [00:14:25] Your background before coming onto Evangelical Catholic was in campus ministry, correct?

Jason [00:14:31] Yeah. Both. I was a youth minister and then kind of a youth minister by day and a campus minister by night. So my heart was really in campus ministry. And so I was really passionate and still am passionate about that.

Andrew [00:14:43] Is that where the focus of Evangelical Catholic was going at the time? Or was that, in part, a shift that you brought based on your own experience and so now you’re seeing the need for that on campus.

Jason [00:14:55] Yeah. We’ve always been both from the very beginning we were…Tim, when he founded the EC was on staff at a parish. So our first exposure was in a parish and then the campus ministry saw what happened in the parish so they hired Tim at the campus ministry and so we launched small groups on campus that went really well. That birthed some national exposure through CCMA partnerships but then and then our dioceses hired us to launch small groups at all their parishes and they paid us. They were one of our largest donors. They paid us three thousand a month to do that. So when I came on board they were giving us thirty six thousand dollars a year to launch small groups in parishes. And then we also had another large donor in town giving us three thousand a month just as a benefactor and our total budget at the time was one hundred and thirty thousand a year. That was before I started grinding and raising money. So the diocese was paying us to do parish ministry. When I came on board I was not convinced about the fruitfulness of what we were doing in the dioceses. And I was like you said passionate about campus ministry. So we started scaling back what we were doing in the dioceses taking less money so that we could do more work nationally with campus ministry and seize a moment I saw around the country along with FOCUS and St. Paul’s outreach and other good ministries doing campus ministry. We all kind of saw what the Lord wass doing on campuses and wanted to be a part of it.

Andrew [00:16:35] Yeah absolutely. So that first year you spent grinding, as you said, trying to get money in the door, trying to get you guys some sense of stability so at least you knew…and then you’re asking for a monthly gift so…that’s awesome because you’re not talking about…you know the first year is funded because ideally those people are going to continue on. So then you have to continue…keep them stewarded and keep them engaged, but…you have a more or less a starting point in year two for at least that group of donors…So then how did things shift for you personally after that first year? Did you…were you able to kind of take a step back from development and focus on the programming or…? You’re laughing so probably not. But tell me about kind of how things shifted for you as you moved through the years.

Jason [00:17:31] Yeah. Well I will say when I came on board and I knew I had to raise a lot of money it seemed like an odious task to me. I did not want to do it. I’m a lay ecclesial minister. I’m trained in theology. I love working with people. I love seeing people grow in the Lord. I love pastoral care. I love spiritual direction. My passion is to evangelize but I discovered quickly the beautiful work that is development and the deep connections you have with donors when you start talking about money. Because money is just so deep to all of us. And it is a place of ministry and it’s a place of deep encounters and deep friendships and deep sharing. And so when you started talking about money you’re talking about that which is most important to us. And it’s just very natural to talk about children to talk about faith to talk about your own journey in discipleship, and I just quickly came to love it. And so though I have never been able to really pull out of development I ceased having that goal probably two or three years in. I just embraced raising money…And my staff…now I’ve hired ministry staff here that…most of our ministry staff do a little development but they ask me, because they know how passionate I am about ministry, “Do you miss it?” And I just honestly I never stopped doing ministry. Therefore I don’t miss it. And I thoroughly enjoy the ministry I get to do through the ministry of development. And it’s not just a way to frame development to make it more palatable. It is actually what happens in a good development meeting. And I just I love it. So I’ve always done a good deal of development. I would say now I’m probably more like 15% development and I have two full time development people and I still have some relationships that I maintain either by choice or by necessity. And I love it. I still engage in a lot of expansion and a lot of meeting new people when I go and meet those other donors that I have relationships with. I’m always trying to expand in those areas. So my 15% is full and maybe it creeps up to 20-25% at different times of the year. But as you said we had those recurring gifts coming in the monthly gifts but I eventually backed off of the diocese so I lost that three thousand a month which I had to make up the next year which we did. And then the next year that large donor shifted his focus because he was kind of a startup donor and we all have those and praise God for them. They want to get things started but they don’t want to be your long term solution. So I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t know that’s how he was. But he was gracious and he said, “Jason, I’m feeling called to move my money to these other startup organizations in Madison. How long do you need me to continue to give so you can not lose ground?” And I just was so thankful for him and his sensitivity and his graciousness and the Lord provided and I just told him, “I probably need four months.” And so we raised the $36,000 to replace him in four months but it always seems like the Lord keeps us at the brink. You know? And maybe that’s a common development experience. I’m thankful for it. It keeps you poor and keeps you poor in spirit, mindset, and spirituality just pleases the Lord. And a constant sense of dependency on the Lord pleases Him. And I’m most happy and my ministry is most fruitful when I am desperate for Him, desperate for help. And I don’t love it. I’d love to have a 10 million dollar endowment and…I mean my flesh would love it, but I feel very grateful for the place that development puts me in terms of neediness and dependency on the Lord. And I feel His pleasure when I am actively trying to push the boundaries of our organization and who knows about us and who knows about this good work and this need in the Church, because a lot of Catholics don’t…they’re not engaged in this work and they need to be…either as benefactors or as in a lay apostolate. They’ll be most fulfilled if they’re engaged in they’re not. They’re uninspired by their parish. They’re uninspired in their Catholic life. And they need to be inspired. So I feel very you know just blessed. It’s hard. It’s hard work but it’s really good.

Andrew [00:22:17] Yeah. That’s a theme that’s come up a couple of different times with different interviews is this idea of if you had somebody who could give you a hundred million dollars say you never had to worry about fundraising again, would that benefit your organization ultimately? And…a hundred million dollars you could do a lot of good with that, but there’s also this idea that you’re talking about about trusting in the Lord, about being willing to continue to tell the story of what you’re doing and why it’s important, and it’s being accountable to your donors. Father Ben Hasse mentioned this on an episode that I really love is just as a comparison with some of the churches in Europe that are funded by the government: They don’t need to…I don’t want to say be accountable, but if people stop giving, it doesn’t make a difference in how they approach ministry and how they approach their programming. Whereas here, if a pastor or executive director starts losing funding then they have to take a look and they say, “All right, what are we doing that we need to change?” or, “What are we not doing that we need to add?” because obviously people are communicating with us, people are keeping us accountable in that way by giving or not giving. And so to your point there’s a lot of fruit that comes from fundraising that’s not just simply, like you said, it’s not calling it a ministry to make it more palatable; it actually is getting people engaged, getting them excited about their faith, and then making our ministries stronger and more fruitful in the end.

Jason [00:23:48] Yes. And that dynamic between the donor, it’s a lot like capital investors…In talking to people who have started companies with investors it’s so similar, except that in development, at least in Christian work, your capital investors have a heart for the Lord but they’re also holding you accountable and there’s this great tension that I love it. I think the nonprofit sector is just is such a great place to pour your life out because…I realized this and I think it was maybe a year into my job…The president of our board, the one who told me that he hired us…He hired me to go get money. He was a mentor of mine early on and I remember having this realization in a one on one with him…I just said to him, “Jeffrey, I’m never going to be comfortable, am I?” There’s always going to be an audacious promise to the donors that I’m raising money for, otherwise why are we inspiring to them? Otherwise what are we raising money for? If I’m not promising to do something the Church needs in an even in an aggressive way, why am I giving to you? And as soon as I make that promise and as soon as they take their money for that promise, now I’ve got to fulfill the promise and go do it. And so there’s this constant back and forth between a vision that’s aggressive and inspiring and then actually carrying out the vision and reporting back to the donors, showing you’re trustworthy for that money, but then casting another vision. And so early on I just realized that you want all your benefactors to know you can carry out this vision and you’re financially solvent enough to do it in an excellent way, but you also want them to know you’ve got big plans, you’re not done yet, and you need more resources so you can do more. And it puts you, as a leader, either a development professional or an executive in an organization, it puts you in…kind of this perpetual state of discomfort. You’re never fully satisfied. You never fully taken care of and you’re never done you’re never finished. There’s never a completion. And isn’t that…that’s just how the Lord is. The Lord’s never done. The Lord’s never satisfied. The Lord’s always got a new vision for the world that He wants us to help him bring to completion. And so this non-profit world puts you in this space that I feel like our Lord is in, where He’s at peace. The Lord is at peace. The Lord is full of joy and mercy toward us. But he’s not satisfied. He’s never satisfied. And there’s more of the lost he wants to reach and there’s more of the poor He wants to take care of and He wants us to get out there doing it. And when you’re in a nonprofit space you partake a little bit in that tension of the Lord. I think that there’s more to do. We need more resources. We need more time. We need more people to do it. Therefore we need more partners to come and help us financially with it. So I love that space that the nonprofit world puts you in. And have never, since I realized that, I have not desired a state of comfort, because it’s just invigorating to be part of that tension.

Andrew [00:27:15] Yeah absolutely. So well said and I really appreciate that. And that’s a good segway. So 12 years into Evangelical Catholic or your role with Evangelical Catholic the ministry has grown significantly from where it was in 2007 when you came on. Tell us a little bit about kind of where you’re at now. What were some of the pivotal moments that got you to where you are? And then what your goals are moving forward.

Jason [00:27:39] So we have 20 staff members now. Our budget now is $2.2 million I think this year. We do have ministry partners who now sign contracts and pay fees to us to help compensate for our labor costs and that’s very helpful so I think right now two thirds of our budget comes from development, one third comes from fees. And out of the development money this coming year our development staff will be accountable for about a million of the two thirds of development and the rest of our staff will raise the rest of it. So we’re raising a million dollars this year. Last year I think we had 263 donors who gave, I have this written down, our largest gift was one hundred fifty thousand. And that’s probably that’s one of the pivotal moments: That $150,000 donor has been with us since early on. I initially asked them for a matching gift of five thousand so they gave five thousand and I didn’t know if this was a lot of money or a little money for them. I figured they could give five thousand. I asked them if they’d give five thousand now and then give five thousand later as a match so that I’d have leverage to get another five thousand dollar donor in their area, which did happen. And then the next year I asked for a two year commitment of twenty five thousand dollars. And then after that was done I asked them for a two year commitment of a hundred thousand dollars, which they gave. And that changed us. I mean that allowed us to do so much. It allowed us to add the staff we needed to add, the infrastructure we needed to add, and really a foundation for growth because it wasn’t for an initiative; it was just completely unrestricted money that we could use to build our mission in the right way, which was so crucial for us to have a couple believe in us like that, and just say, “Jason, James,” our associate director at the time, “We believe in you and so we’re gonna give you this money.” And then a couple of years later I asked them for a hundred and fifty a year, which they gave. And so they’ve just been they’ve been really foundational to who we’ve become. And to have those early people believe in with no strings attached and just allow you to build the right way was really a turning point…really an important turning point for us.

Andrew [00:30:08] Yeah we’ve had…in ministries that I’ve been part of or that I’ve worked with through Petrus, we’ve had a number of stories like that where you have somebody and you think that they could give more but there’s no relationship there or the trust isn’t built. And so how do you move them along that journey? Is you ask them for, what is a reasonable gift that you can then turn around? It’s like you said, that five thousand dollars, you leveraged that to go find other money. And so that built that trust with them. And then over time you were able to increase. They were willing to increase based on the trust that you had built with them, and then also you were able to more confidently go and share your vision with them and bring them along as donors. And I think that’s a great lesson for people because you know a lot of times development directors or executive directors…whoever they might be…they see somebody with the capacity and they instantly want to go in and ask for that million dollars or that major gift and maybe they would give it and maybe they wouldn’t. But that’s a great story of how development is…it’s building that relationship, it’s building that trust, and it’s walking with people along through that journey and allowing them to move at their pace and then ultimately, in this case, moved up to that level where their gift is transformational for the organization.

Jason [00:31:28] Yes. Yes. Yeah and I decided early…I met him at a breakfast and I kind of thought he was a little new agey and you know I didn’t know how strong his faith was. But I said, “I’d love to meet your wife, have dinner with you sometime, would you be open to that?” He said, “Yes. Call me sometime.” So I did. Went over to his house that night and we had a great conversation about the Lord and I just realized, “Whoa, these are really fervent believers. I didn’t know that.” And that night he said, “Well, tell me more about your mission,” which I did. And then he said, “Well, how can I help?” And I just was honest. I said, “You know, I didn’t come here prepared to answer that question. Could I think about it pray about it and give you a call back? And he said, “Sure!” And so it was just kind of easy going, not posturing, just very relational. And so that’s when I called him back with the 5000 now and then the 5000 match. But I decided this is a guy…I figured they did have some capacity and I just loved spending time with him. I loved talking to him so I just decided I was going to call him quarterly, which I started doing. And we really got to know each othe well. I heard about his Bible study that he’s in. I heard about his kids and their struggles you know in their marriage and everything. And so after that year I felt like we had a relationship or I could ask him for a significant increase to twenty five thousand. But I kept talking to him. I saw him annually. They have several homes. I saw him annually only. But we talk quarterly and so yes to your point, I did know that he would give more if I talked to him more, but it wasn’t like I was using him and just talking to him to get more money, like he’s a vending machine and I pop in quarters and…Our conversations were just so good. And it was a growing friendship and I wanted him to know me. And if he supported me I wanted him to understand that we’d be a worthwhile investment. But I also just wanted to know him and I wanted to pray for his son and I wanted to pray for his family. And so yeah I mean…development always has that tension, I suppose, that you can use people as a means to your ends, which is never good. But there is always an element of you know this person can help your ends. But I think the Lord purifies our intentions and with this couple he did purify my intentions and we just struck up a great friendship.

Andrew [00:34:09] Yeah I mean it’s like you said…it’s all about the relationship. Over time it grew. And now, like you said they’ve transformed the organization. So where are you…What’s your vision now for…where do you see Evangelical Catholic going in the future? You said 20 staff members. You’re all over the country, serving in parishes and campus ministries…Where is the organization headed next?

Jason [00:34:32] We have a goal by 2021 to be working with two hundred ministries. Right now we’re working with 110. We want to have contracts with two hundred ministries. I’m interested in partnering more with archdioceses and dioceses to serve them more because I see a lot of passion in bishops around the country for evangelization in parishes and in campuses. And so I want to work more with bishops and archdioceses/dioceses just in terms of connecting with the right pastors. I don’t want them forcing us in anywhere but I want to have a relational approach with them. We’re working with military bases which I’m really excited about. We have five now we’re expanding the 10. That’s a great hope of mine. We’ve hired a number of veterans at the AC and they’re outstanding leaders just the training and discipline that they receive. So I have great hope that Catholic soldiers veterans can be transformative in the church. If we reach them during their military years and instead of falling away from the Lord in the military that they draw closer to the Lord and get equipped. So I’m excited about that and then we’ve translated all of our materials and videos into Spanish. So I’m excited to see how we can impact Latin America because a lot of Catholics there are falling away, westernization is happening down there, evangelical Protestants are quite active down there, which is fine I don’t view them as competition it’s just it’s harder to evangelize someone who grew up Catholic to evangelize them into Jesus and out of the Church is a much harder sell culturally than just evangelizing them within the Church. And so I think we have a lot to offer in Latin America. And I’m excited to expand out there. So that’s some of my hopes.

Andrew [00:36:26] Very exciting. What are some of the roadblocks what are some of the challenges that either you’ve seen already to that growth or that you foresee as you move forward?

Jason [00:36:35] Well we rely on really high caliber lay leadership usually on staff working side by side with a priest. Priests don’t have time usually to launch a movement of lay evangelization because of their responsibilities. So usually we rely on a lay staff member at a campus or a parish who can launch the movement of lay evangelization in that local community. But military bases oftentimes lack the lay leadership, Latin American parishes know nothing about lay staff members, and poor parishes in the United States can’t afford lay staff members, so this is a hurdle for a lot of the parishes I hope to impact. And campuses, campuses as well you’ll have one lay person on staff who might be in charge of two or three different satellite campuses. They may have no Newman Center or home base but they still need help. So the hurdle I would say is professional lay leadership at the local level. We work best when we have that, but we’re working on adapting what we do so we can work around that, but that’s one of the hurdles.

Andrew [00:37:50] And that makes a lot of sense. It’s like you said…the priests already have a lot on their plates and they’re already stretched to the max. But that doesn’t mean they don’t desire to see that evangelization. You could say that’s their ultimate desire for many of these priests, and just that feeling of, “I want this to happen. I cannot do it by myself and I need people along to walk with me and to help take this to be the champion…to lead the charge while I can continue to shepherd the flock…” And so…that makes a lot of sense and we see that same tension that same challenge with fundraising, with organizations.

Jason [00:38:31] Yeah. Right. It’s the same.

Andrew [00:38:31] Because the priest or the director obviously they’re the ones that, certainly at the highest level, the donors want to engage with the most. And their time is the hardest to manage and so it’s that strategy. You know it’s coming up with strategies to…like you said adapting your your approach or just being mindful of what you can do to maximize that time that the priest or the director can give you to be most impactful and so… I think that…that makes a lot of sense that that’s a challenge of yours.

Jason [00:39:03] Yeah. And there are work arounds but it’d be like Petrus trying to do their work and gage a ministry without a full time development person. You kno…we’re trying to find work arounds for it and there have to be. There have to be because every Catholic ministry needs to be engaged in evangelization and they all need help and there have to be ways of doing it but the solutions aren’t obvious. And I think that’s why we’re developing a lot of online resources because they’re scalable and we think we can do a lot online at a cost point that ministries can afford and that can…it can go anywhere, it can go international. And now with video conferencing you can coach internationally even if you have people on your staff who can speak the language….So there’s a lot I think we can do. But yeah the work arounds are similar for what Petrus does and what we do…We have to figure it out.

Andrew [00:40:00] Yep. What’s an Evangelical Catholic success story of a mission…a ministry that has been transformed, that keeps you going when you do have those challenges, when you have those roadblocks and you say, “Gosh we’ve got to figure it out but I know it’s possible because of this…group…this story.” Do you have anything that you’d like to point to in that regard?

Jason [00:40:19] Yeah. We have a couple. One recent one is is a parish that’s in the Imperial Valley in California which is a very poor area. They’re all migrant workers. They speak mostly Spanish but a lot of them now are speaking more and more English. But the parish there was struggling to engage people. And just like everywhere else parishioners were dwindling because the Mexican immigrants come up here with strong faith but over time just the force of our American culture and media you know it kind of dampens people’s faith. And if they are not actively engaged in being connected as a community and being formed as disciples and even being equipped you know as missionary disciples then…the momentum is away from devout faith, not toward it. And so a Pastor engaged us there we didn’t have any Spanish materials but a donor paid for us to have everything translated. So we worked with them for the last two years and there is an awesome movement now at that parish that’s not just evangelizing the parishioners but they have small groups now all over…It’s El Centro is the city, so all over El Centro now are these Our Lady of Guadalupe small groups that are reaching out and reaching people who have fallen away from the Catholic faith and just the parishioners there are super excited. I was just there a few months ago giving a talk on prayer and then we had adoration at the end of the night and just the response from the community just…the hunger to pray, the hunger to learn more about prayer, and then the way they engaged in adoration after my talk was just super inspiring. And so to see a community with a decreasing momentum, decreasing evangelical momentum and now…I love the promise from Jesus you know that he gives Peter the keys of the kingdom and he says, “The gates of hell will not prevail.” And…we always remind people that the devil, the evil one, darkness is on the defensive, should be on the defensive. We feel like darkness is on the offensive against us as a church but really it should be the other way around; we as children of light as baptized believers are on the offensive, attacking the gate of hell. The gate of hell will not prevail. And so before in this community you got the sense that the darkness was encroaching on the offensive and now they are very much offensive with the small groups all over the city and a growing momentum of people coming back to the church. There’s a real sense of offensive evangelical mission and the gates of hell aren’t prevailing…I think that gives me great encouragement because A. It wasn’t in English. It wasn’t at a wealthy parish. We didn’t have a full time staff member there…And so I feel like, “Yes! If we can do it there…we can…” I always say to our staff, “We’re gonna change the world.” And this parish kind of gives me hope that we could…with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Andrew [00:43:55] How encouraging is that? So just a couple of other questions and then we’ll finish up with our Lightning Round. What are some resources, what are some books that you have that have really kind of helped to form you either in fudraising or in management or volunteers or evangelization…What are some books or some resources that have really inspired you that you would recommend to others?

Jason [00:44:18] That’s a great question. I think one of the more impactful things we have done as an organization is to use and to read the materials from the Gallup Strengths Finder. And so we’ve gotten big into that. And that’s really helped us help our staff find areas of their strengths and their fulfillment and their greatest productivity and greatest joy and fulfillment in work. So that’s been…I would point to that as one of the more impactful books I’ve read and resources I’ve used. And then another book that I’ve read, it’s not a development book but it has helped me a lot in development, is a book called Never Check Email in the Morning. And it’s by Julie Morgenstern and never check email in the morning is a great habit of work and her encouragement is to stay close to the revenue line. And so this is great for development and it constantly reminds me to push my activity and prioritize my activity to be hitting stuff as close to the revenue line as possible. And I do have things as president that I need to do that are further away from the revenue line but they will not get my first attention in the morning and through like the prime hours of work. I will be writing a grant. I will be reaching out to donors. I’ll be scheduling trips. I’ll be getting stuff on the book. Obviously a donor meeting is as close to the revenue line as you can get but everything to set up those donor meetings, all that prep work needs to happen first for me or my dad gets eaten up with other stuff. And so that’s basic productivity principle. But her book Never Check Email in the Morning is super good, packed with helpful tips, and it changed my life professionally.

Andrew [00:46:18] That’s awesome….Going back to your strengths finder, do you remember what your five strengths are?

Jason [00:46:23] Yeah…mine are Strategic, Futuristic, Self-Assurance, Activator… Did I say futuristic?…I can’t remember what the fifth is now…

Andrew [00:46:34] You did…It sounds like very much a motivate your team to go out and do what they’re really good at…which is great.

Jason [00:46:45] Yes. Yes exactly….yeah not actually do a lot myself…(laughter)

Andrew [00:46:49] (laughter) Exactly! Who wants to do that? That would require checking email and…I don’t do that anymore, right? (laughter)

Jason [00:46:59] No I don’t…(laughter).

Andrew [00:46:59] Well good, well Jason I appreciate you sharing that list and I appreciate just all your insights about the organization and what you’ve learned and how you’ve not done development throughout this journey because it “had to be done”…maybe in the beginning, maybe that was your feeling when your board chair…what did he say?: “Well Jason, that’s why we hired you” (laughter) but you certainly have embraced it as a core tenet a core principle of your work as an Evangelical Catholic with your role in this organization. I think that…those are great for everybody to hear and certainly a lot of people can take away with that in a powerful way. So I want to finish up with our lightning round questions. So I’ve got five questions for you that I ask to everybody. They’ll focus a little bit on the fundraising but that sounds like it’s OK. First question: if you could fundraise for any organization or cause at any point in history what would it be?

Jason [00:48:07] I am continually amazed by the young Jesuit order in the 16th century and the vision that they had, the hope that they had, and then the amazing effectiveness that these six men had as they went around the world. So…I think that’s one of the more dynamic…If I could have been at the grass roots of that one…raising money for them I could have sold that vision. And also the spiritual exercises being so innovative as a tool of evangelization and discipleship, drawing people into the life of discipleship…that had never been done before. So they had this great tool—innovative tool, they had the amazing passion of a founder, and then you know these six men going out around the world on mission with great fruitfulness. So yeah it’d probably the 16th century…with the Jesuits.

Andrew [00:48:58] And then Jason The Development Guy following them and leading the charge right? (laughter).

Jason [00:49:02] That’s right. That’s right. “These guys need help!”

Andrew [00:49:06] (laughter) I love that answer. All right. Number two: If you could get a donor meeting with anybody in the world living or dead who would it be with?

Jason [00:49:13] Bono from U2.

Andrew [00:49:14] Oh, I love it…(laughter) Kerry Robinson said the same thing.

Jason [00:49:18] I love U2 and…I think he had a Catholic mom and Protestant dad and I think he’d love what we do…So I’d love…and I love him and I know all his lyrics so I could connect it back to a lot of songs he’s written.

Andrew [00:49:31] That was one that was one of the first songs that I remember learning was “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

Jason [00:49:39] Oh yeah!…

Andrew [00:49:39] OK great. Number three: Is there enough money out there for every organization that’s doing good work?

Jason [00:49:45] Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean the scriptures say God has the cattle on a thousand hills, right? So I mean…there’s plenty of money for everything that the Lord wants to do. I don’t know that it is enough money for every organization, period, but there’s enough money for the organizations that He wants to thrive.

Andrew [00:50:03] We like that. That’s a good answer. That’s good. Fourth: If you could go back in time and offer yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Jason [00:50:11] Oh, I spent so much time worrying. Yeah I spent so much time worrying. I guess until you see the Lord provide over and over you’re just bound to worry because money has such a hold on us. But I would love to tell myself you know in two thousand seven, eight, and nine all the stories of provision over the years. And I heard it and I read about it from other people who had done this but now I don’t worry anymore because now I just have a track record of the Lord providing, I just don’t…I don’t worry anymore. But I wish I could have helped my younger self not worry. Not spend a second wasting time on worry.

Andrew [00:50:59] Yeah. That’s great. And last question in the lightning round: Who are three people who have most influenced you in your professional life?

Jason [00:51:04] I first would go to the priest who pulled me out of engineering into ministry: Monsignor Kevin Holmes. Who is still a pastor here in Madison. Good friend of mine who was the development director for St. Paul’s University Catholic center, Scott Hackle; huge coach for me in development and definitely everything I know about development came from him, pretty much I would say. He coached me through a lot of…my asks and a lot of my approach. And then the author I mentioned earlier, Julie Morgenstern, really transformed the way I work. So they would probably be the three most impactful.

Andrew [00:51:46] That’s awesome. And last question: If you could go back in time and answer the call when Tim called and said, “We want you and your wife to come on and take this on full time,” would you do it again?

Jason [00:52:01] Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s been the path of my salvation. (laughter) It’s been so rich and the lessons I’ve learned and the way that I’ve gotten to know the Lord in my desperation, and the joys, the joys of leading a team, the joy of working with a group of people in the trenches for the Lord. You know I think…everyone in ministry understands it. And so yeah. This taps into my strategic desires and my leadership gifts and my passion for ministry in a perfect way. I would say if the board fired me from the Evangelical Catholic I would just go start another one.

Andrew [00:52:42] (laughter) The MORE Evangelical Catholic. (laughter)

Jason [00:52:48] (laughter) …That’s perfect…It’s perfect.

Andrew [00:52:49] That’s great. Well Jason I certainly do appreciate you taking the time to visit. I appreciate the work that you do for the church, for the organization that you serve, but also just for every ministry out there that’s ever been in contact with you or been inspired by the work that you do. So thank you so much for all that.

Jason [00:53:04] Thank you Andrew! And thanks for your work with Petrus. I’m really grateful and I think it’s an awesome contribution to the world of campus ministry in the Church. We need more help in development.

Andrew [00:53:15] Well if people want to get a hold of you how do they track you down?

Jason [00:53:18] My email is jsimon@evangelicalcatholic.org and for more prompt replies there is a general ec email: ec@evangelicalcatholic.org that’s checked very often.

Andrew [00:53:32] Even in the morning.

Jason [00:53:33] Yeah…I told you how I feel about e-mail already…(laughter).

Andrew [00:53:38] Great. Well Jason I appreciate it. For everybody listening I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. If you have any thoughts please don’t hesitate please reach out and share them with us. We’d love to hear from you. Everybody have a great day and God bless.

[00:58:54] All right well I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jason Simon. I loved what he had to say. And here are my three key takeaways from our conversation. First key takeaway is Jason initially saw talking with people about money as an odious task. He had always been in ministry but very quickly came to understand that conversations with donors about money gave him chances to have deep and meaningful conversations. I love the way that he said that putting a different spin or putting a different approach on development and considering it a ministry wasn’t a way to make it just more palatable, but he really came to see development as regular ministry. So I really thought that that was a great point that Jason shared. You know he initially came into fundraising with one idea about what it meant to talk about money but through those conversations and through engaging with people, really came to understand that it really is a ministry. I thought another point that we didn’t spend a lot of time on but it is a very impactful point very important point is this idea of having startup donors. Just like investors, a lot of people prefer to put their money into organizations that are just starting up, that are getting off the ground, or that are launching a brand new initiative. I think that that is an important piece to understand and sometimes explains why some of our key donors will stop supporting our organization or scale back their support. As time goes on. And that’s not necessarily to say that we’re doing anything wrong from a ministry standpoint or from a fundraising standpoint but simply they like to put their money into organizations into programs and projects that are just getting started. Just the same way that some investors they really like that idea of startup investment they want to be on the ground floor of an organization starting a business idea coming to fruition and it’s the same thing with donors. I thought that was a very key point and I have seen that play out with organizations that I’ve worked with sometimes donors they want to help you get started and then they want to see you sort of survive on your own make it on your own and move to engaging new donors. And so I think that’s a very key point and sometimes it helps us to have conversations with our donors about that. Just talking with somebody about how they supported a lot at one time but now they’re supporting at a lower level I think can give us peace and can give us understanding about how to better engage on the other side of that though is no startup donors that want to see your organization get started and then scale back they may come back and they may support you at a higher level if you bring to them new initiatives. Or if you bring to them a new project a capital campaign or some kind of initiative where you’re just launching a new program that may be a way to re-engage. So I thought that was a really key takeaway is the idea of having startup donors. The Third takeaway that I thought was really great that Jason shared is the story of the donor that he worked with early on that he knew had capacity didn’t know what the inclination was didn’t know what the interest was in the organization but knew there was capacity but didn’t initially go for that major ask started off with a five thousand dollar gift and wanted to ask for another 5000 to leverage as a matching gift. And so I think that that gave him an opportunity to explore that relationship to build that trust in the organization. And then the next year he went back and asked for a twenty five thousand dollar gift twenty five thousand a year for two years and the donor agreed to that because he had seen that first gift be put to good use. And then Jason was able to go back and ask him for one hundred thousand dollars and that’s when he said that it really impacted the organization in a transformational way because just to where their budget is a hundred thousand dollars a year was huge for them. And then ultimately, right now, move them to one hundred fifty thousand dollar a year donor. I think that all of that just goes to show that sometimes we have donors that we know have capacity but their level of interest the level of commitment to our organization just isn’t there yet to support at that level. But a cultivation strategy can’t be to ask them for a gift that is more manageable that isn’t at the high end of their capacity but allows you to start that relationship of giving and stewarding that donor to that point. Donors like this have capacity from the beginning but it’s not always prudent there’s not always wise to go in and ask for that big gift. Until we have established the relationship. So those were my three key takeaways: Just this idea that Jason really came to see development as a ministry, that he have startup donors and where they fit into the life of an organization, and then sometimes we have to move slowly with a donor to ultimately get them to the point where they are able to support and willing to support at a high level. And so my advice to you today one thing that you can do today is to that third point: go back to your office and look and see who some of your top prospects are, some of the people who are in your database or in your list of prospects that you know have significant capacity but their level of interest in the organization isn’t there where you can go and ask him for that gift. And so put together a plan maybe that’s a two year plan maybe it’s a three year plan maybe it’s a five year plan but put together a plan and a strategy where you can set a target of asking them for smaller gifts along the way but gradually increasing and building that trust. So almost think of it as an. The Visualize campaign for that donor to get them to a point where they have trust in the organization the relationship is there that they would make a transformational gift. When I worked at St. Mary’s at Texas St. and we had a donor couple like this who we knew had significant capacity was peripherally connected to the ministry but we just couldn’t go in and ask him for that major gift. And so Greg my boss at the time he built that relationship by first starting with a 5000 dollar gift for a matching collection. They loved that. Then eventually went back and asked them for twenty five thousand dollars. They gave to that and loved that program. Then eventually went and asked them for two hundred fifty thousand dollars and then ultimately they made a million dollar campaign gift to the campaign at the time. But that took years that took a couple of years. And every step along the way Greg and father and myself we steward these benefactors we built that relationship we built that trust so that when we got to the point of doing the capital campaign they actually came to us with the idea of them making a million dollar commitment to move the project forward. And it was all because we develop a strategy and we worked that strategy with this donor to the point where they were able to make that transformational gift and they felt really good about it. I hope that that’s some helpful advice to you. I hope that you go back to your office to your ministry and put some of this stuff in place and learn from the conversation with Jason and so if you have any questions about any of this we’d like to discuss this further with us. [01:05:13][379.7]

[01:05:14] Petrus please feel free to reach out. You can contact me directly Andrew Petrus development dot com be happy to visit with you and talk through any of these ideas that come out as a result of these podcasts. Thanks. Have a great day. God bless.

Thanks for joining us today and I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you haven’t already take a minute and do three things: subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode, if you like the show give us a five star review, and check out our Web site: Petrusdevelopment.com but really I just hope you take some of that from this episode and apply it to your life and your work. Your ministry and the Kingdom need good people doing great development work. And as it says in Luke, cast your nets out into the deep. Be Bold and The Lord will provide. God bless and we’ll see you next time.


Giving to religious causes vastly exceeds any other category in the nonprofit sector, but faith-based organizations often struggle the most with fundraising effectively. Join Andrew Robison, President of Petrus Development, as he explores this topic through honest and revealing conversations with church leaders, executive directors and development professionals from the nonprofit community.

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