Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Nasruddin: a fool and his money

Nasruddin used to stand in the street on market-days, to be pointed out as an idiot. No matter how often people offered him a large and a small coin, he always chose the smaller piece.
One day a kindly man said to him:
"Nasruddin, you should take the bigger coin. Then you will have more money and people will no longer be able to make a laughing stock of you."
"That may be true", said Nasruddin, "but if I always take the larger, people will stop offering me money to prove that I am more idiotic than they are. Then I would have no money at all."

I've been thinking quite a bit about fundraising recently, and I'm no expert, but I think this story highlights a few helpful points:

1. fundraising is for idiots

there is something about
asking for money that makes you look foolish - idiotic even.   In the bible it talks about how the foolishness of this world confounds the wise (1 Cor 1:25)  Nasruddin is prepared to be the idiot, since he has found a good income stream.  He is not afraid of being a 'laughing stock' and as always there is wisdom in his foolishness .   a little and often is better than a lot occasionally. 
2. small coins are easier to give than bigger coins

'small is beautiful' which seems to be the conclusion of the famous story of the 'widow's mite' (Luke 21:2) or maybe it should be 'widow's might' !  There is power in a good story to inspire others  - we think 'If she can give something like that and be praised, so can I'.   Giving a little - 'a small coin'  is achievable  for everybody    'Big coins' are only for big people. This little parable of the large and the small coins suggests that small repetitive acts can achieve big results  ...

3. It's all about going public. 

visibility, standing on the streets on market day  people wanted to give   to prove he was more foolish than they are ....  he was on to a winner.  
it was counter intuitive   bigger is better  or small is beautiful  
crowd sourcing

4. people give to people

'people offered him'  -  some say it's not about fundraising but friend-raising  -  people give to people.  And as it says in the story they were 'offering him money'   but they had their own needs and needed to keep the bigger coin for themselves .....

don't always listen to the advice of kindly old men.

experience and wisdom of the past is not always the best guide. as has been often quoted  'If you do what you always did you'll get what you always got'. Sometime you just need to try something different.  And Nasruddin discovered a winner.   

Stewardship - 'transforming generosity'

here are 4 of the things I am involved in:
Global Teams -  as
Partnership Facilitator (UK and Europe) I love their strapline 'the heart of Christ in the skin of every culture'

Mahabba - currently in a voluntary capacity helping 
to mobilise ordinary Christians to befriend ordinary Muslims. They have  a very simple  strapline: 'loving all Muslims'

Faith2share   -   a network of mission
organisations, new and old, who support each other and collaborate in global mission - their slogan is 'we believe faith needs to be shared'

AsiaCMS - a new mission agency in Asia (that I helped to set up), part of the CMS family  which is focused on 'advancing God's Mission through training and resourcing leaders'

I have been involved in setting up a small cooperative, so we can work with such groups - Paraklesis is a group of experienced consultants who 'come alongside to help'.

If you would like to, then you can give to any of them via Stewardship - transforming generosity'   Just log on the site and search for any of the above mentioned organisation. (you need a Stewardship  account)  If you would like to give to my personal support and ministry fund click here.  Or you can check on their individual website to find other ways of giving (feel free to mention me!)

Finally if none of that works for you, we can meet on a street corner somewhere and go through the 'Nasruddin routine'   ........  I'll take the small coin and you keep the bigger one - I promise!  And, by the way, I've no problems with being a laughing stock...... 


qadirbaksh said... always great words, good wisdom, and a creative way to put it!

Quick question....if I feel moved to give a coin (large or small, I don't know, God knows), what will that help you to do that you could not do if you don't have coins?


qadirbaksh said... always great words, good wisdom, and a creative way to put it!

Quick question....if I feel moved to give a coin (large or small, I don't know, God knows), what will that help you to do that you could not do if you don't have coins?


MullanaNasruddin said...

Well Kevin that's two questions....... or else you're repeating yourself!
A small coin can make a big contribition to my involvement in these various organisations and the wonderful work they are doing.
What will I actually do? I think as the name 'para-klesis' implies - it is to 'come alongside to help' the work. The work is mainly done by others, and these days they are mainly from the Global South. I suppose people like me can in humility draw alongside and share experiences from the past, even some of our mistakes. That may help others to leapfrog over these mistakes and engage in new ways.

But the problem seems to be that I'll have to come out to the States to collect the coin......