Zenet Maramara is President of the Christian Stewardship Association in the Philippines. Here she discusses some of the key lessons she has learnt over many years as a fundraiser, including how to reduce dependency on international donors.
How did you get involved in fundraising?
In the 1990s my first fundraising role involved supporting the work of the Asian Theological Seminary through promotions, marketing and special events. At that time, like so many ministries in the Philippines, 70 per cent of our funding came from the United States, with only 30 per cent being raised locally.
However, there was a growing recognition that as the country continued to develop, more local funds and expertise would become available, giving us the opportunity to move towards national leadership and locally raised funds.
In order to play a role in this, I needed more training so I went to the USA to study public relations. It was during this time that God revealed to me a whole new way of thinking about fundraising.
I call it my ‘second conversion’ and it started when I began to understand that everything belongs to God, including all the resources needed for our ministries. I realised that fundraisers are called to walk alongside the people God has already raised up to provide funds.
This realisation changed my view of fundraising. Whereas before I had been embarrassed to ask people for money, now I was excited to give people the opportunity to support our work financially.
This makes the job of fundraising so much better! It liberated me, and today it liberates the students I teach. The burden of providing the resources needed for our ministries is no longer ours, because God is our partner.