One of the most beautiful things about working with partners is that each of them is completely unique. They all have their own story, motivations, and God-given vision for partnership. Of course, this also presents one of the greatest challenges for us as we seek to love and serve our partners: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to Fund Development.
Because of this, a powerful tool to utilize as you grow a relationship with any partner is asking questions. A crucial mistake that many make when interacting with a partner is to spend most of the time talking about themselves, the ministry, and ways the partner can get involved. While those things are important for them to understand, it’s often a far better idea to speak less and listen more. By asking questions, we can learn a lot about our partners, the lives they live, what motivates them, and how God might use their partnership to grow His Kingdom. Here are 74 questions that may be helpful to learn your partners’ answers to.
As you read these questions, take a moment to think of some of the potential answers you could hear and how that knowledge would help you to better understand and serve these partners.
There are many reasons why it will be helpful to understand who your partner is ‘on paper’. Knowing the answers to the following questions will help your partner to understand that you care about them and view them as more than a checkbook. The things you’ll learn will also inform the way you interact with them and the opportunities for partnership that you present to them.
1. What is your birthdate and year?
2. Where did you grow up?
3. How did you meet your spouse?
4. Do you have any children?
5. What has your career looked like?
6. Where do you live now?
7. Do you have any pets?
8. What is your job title?
9. What were your parents like?
10. How do you describe your cultural identity?
11. What are your hobbies?
12. What could you not live without?
13. What is the favorite place you’ve traveled to?
14. Tell me an interesting fact about you
15. Do you follow any sports teams?
16. What type of music do you like?
For many adults, their time in high school and college were some of the most formative years of their lives. It was a time when they decided what they believe, who they will be, and what they wanted their lives to look like. On top of that, their education informed their career and personality in ways that you'll only ever know by asking. Try to ask questions to learn about this time of their life and the expertise they have.
17. What education or degrees have you received?
18. When did you attend college?
19. Did you win any academic awards or achievements?
20. Are you children still in school?
21. What was your favorite memory from college?
22. Have you pursued any post-graduate education?
23. Did you belong to any professional organizations?
24. Were you in a fraternity or sorority?
25. Do you still use your degree directly in your work today?
Of course, because Cru operates in a religious context, it is also important that you take time to understand your partners’ religious background and beliefs. Knowing this context will help you to understand the decisions they make and the type of opportunities and stories that they’d most appreciate learning about.
26. What was the spiritual setting you grew up in?
27. How important was religion to your parents?
28. When & how did you accept Christ?
29. What church are you currently attending?
30. What is one thing that you wish more Christians believed or understood?
31. Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
32. When in your life have you most clearly seen the power of prayer?
33. What is the spiritual state of your spouse and children?
34. What can I be praying for in your life?
35. Are there any good spiritual books that you’ve read recently?
36. How have you and those you love been impacted by Cru in the past?
37. What is one of the greatest spiritual lessons you’ve ever been taught?
38. How have you seen God’s love most clearly in your life?
39. What is something you wish your younger self understood about the Bible?
40. What worries you about today’s culture in regard to spirituality?
41. What do you think is the biggest threat to Christianity today?
If we aren’t careful, we all tend to look into the ‘crystal ball’ of Development. We decide that we know our partner, what they like, what they want to hear about, and how much they can give. Amazingly, though, we are rarely correct. The best practice is to simply ask your partner to share their thoughts on giving and partnership. Not each of these questions will be appropriate for any given partner, so you will need to evaluate which should be omitted based on your current relationship with the partner. That said even though some of the questions will undoubtedly be intimidating to ask, remember that the person you’re talking to is doing so voluntarily and they share your desire to spread the gospel through Cru.
We all tend to look into the ‘crystal ball’ of Development. We decide that we know our partner, what they like, what they want to hear about, and how much they can give. Amazingly, though, we are rarely correct.
42. When you give, how do you hope your money is used by the church or organization?
43. What aspects of ministry get you most excited?
44. Have you ever volunteered with a ministry? What did you do?
45. How do you feel like God is calling you to use the resources He’s given you?
46. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
47. How much hands-on involvement would you like to have in the ministry?
48. What time of year do you do you most of your giving?
49. If I hear about a giving opportunity that I think you may be interested in, would you like me to tell you about it?
50. At this time, what would be an appropriate amount for me to ask you to consider giving?
51. Have you ever attended a Cru event?
52. What is the most exciting thing that you’ve seen Cru do in ministry?
53. Do you know any of your local Cru staff?
54. What are the 3 biggest things that you feel you can provide for a ministry like Cru?
55. What factors shape the way you give?
56. What are your top 3 priorities in giving?
57. Why did you first give to Cru?
As you get to know a partner more and they grow a deeper understanding of your organization, a powerful type of question to ask is a feedback question where the partner has the ability to voice their opinion. These questions help our partners to feel empowered and have the added benefit of helping the organization to learn from our partners.
58. What do you think is Cru’s greatest strength?
59. What things do you hope Cru uses your money to do?
60. How would you describe Cru to a friend?
61. Is there anything you wish Cru did more or less of in caring for you as a partner?
62. What is something that you’ve seen another organization do that you think Cru could benefit from?
63. Is there something you wish would change within Cru?
64. Do you feel like you understand how your gifts are used by Cru?
65. What do you think of this ministry idea?
66. How could we most effectively reach our goal?
67. If you had 10 minutes to talk to the President of Cru, what would you like to talk about?
68. How is giving to Cru different from giving to other organizations?
This last set of questions is simply a group that will likely be inappropriate unless you have a close, stable, personal relationship with the partner. If you are at that level with them, these questions can be very helpful in discerning the best way to care for them. They will be most appropriate for partners with a high giving capacity.
69. Do you feel like you’ve had to sacrifice anything to acquire the wealth you have?
70. What is the legacy that you hope to leave behind in your life?
71. Do you have any specific goals for giving in the next few years?
72. Would you tell me about the most sacrificial gift you’ve ever given and how God has used it?
73. Are there any spiritual or financial principles you adhere to when partnering with an organization?
74. What is the most challenging aspect for you when it comes to managing your wealth?
Of course, the list of questions above is only the start! There are an endless number of questions you could ask your partner. What other questions can you think of?