For regular worshipers attending Sunday prayers at St. Johnâ€™s Church in the parish of Kirkheaton, a Yorkshire village in Northern England, the service on 18th November 2012 seemed like it would be pretty much like any other they had attended in the past. As they entered the church some nodded politely in silent recognition to fellow churchgoers who, in turn, would respond with a gentle wave as everyone took their seats. For many it would be the very same seat that they had sat in previous weeks and months.
Nothing at all appeared to be out of the ordinary.
But for the Reverend Richard Steel, Rector of the Church, things that day were anything but ordinary. He had a challenge on his hands. Over the past seven years a successful campaign had been run that had raised almost ÂŁ500,000 ($750,000) towards repairs to the largely Victorian built church. Sadly though, it still wasn’t enough. The time had come when he needed to persuade his congregation to pull together one more time in a concerted effort to raise the extra funds required to complete the restoration.
But how? He surely recognized that, even though they hadn’t quite hit their target, the church had succeeded in generating an impressive sum of money. He also surely realized that those funds had been raised primarily because of the generosity and fundraising efforts of the local community. Persuading them to give even more was going to be a difficult pitch, but one that he would need to make, and to make convincingly. And make it he did.
Reverend Steelâ€™s strategy was both inspirational and extraordinary. And not only did it provide his church with the much needed funds it required but it also provides us all with a wonderful demonstration of how to successfully deploy a fundamental principle of influence.
Reverend Steel decided that he was going to give away the churchâ€™s money.