The Ripple Effect

One of the ten essential components of an effective case statement is the lifetime value of an organization. It’s vital to show how your organization impacts people over the course of a lifetime. 

Last week I got the chance to be a part of the anniversary celebration of Young Life in St. Augustine. As some of you know, I was the Area Director for Young Life in St. Augustine from 1994 to 1999. I now serve as the Chair of the local board. Instead of doing our usual fundraising banquet, we decided to celebrate all that God has done in our community since 1969 – fifty years of Young Life! 

To mark this special celebration, we invited Bill Heavener to come and speak. Bill started Young Life in St. Augustine. As the emcee for the evening, it was my job to interview Bill. Much of what he shared I already knew, but during the evening he shared something incredible that I had never heard before. 

When I asked Bill how he had gotten involved with Young Life in the first place, Bill shared that he had been a Young Life kid in the 60s in Jacksonville, Florida. One weekend, as a teenager, he attended a Young Life camp and put his faith in Christ. During that weekend, the speaker happened to be Bob Stevens. I was amazed. Bob Stevens is my wife Wendy’s uncle! 

Somehow, over 50 years ago, Wendy’s mother’s brother spoke at a weekend camp in Lake Swan, Florida, and led Bill Heavener to faith in Christ. Then Bill Heavener went to St. Augustine and started the ministry that would, without a doubt, be one of the most important, defining things in my life. Meeting Jesus is the most defining moment in my life, and second to that, those first five years of ministry in St. Augustine were crucial. This is when I met my wife, began to develop my leadership gifts, and learned how to fundraise. All of these events happened as a result of the work that Wendy’s Uncle Bob had indirectly started!

After Bill spoke, we had another speaker, Justine Conley, come and share about the legacy of Young Life in St. Augustine. During her talk, Justine asked Bill to come to the front of the room. Then she asked anyone who had been impacted by his ministry to come and stand behind him. Next she asked anyone who had been impacted by those people’s ministry to come and stand behind them. She continued this process until all of a sudden most of the crowd was standing in the front of the room. It was a beautiful illustration of lifetime value. One life changed can lead to a whole crowd of people whose lives have been transformed! 

As you ponder how to illustrate the lifetime value of your organization or an organization you are involved with, think about one life. How is changing this one life going to change your community? You can’t see it right now, perhaps, but you know the truth of what I am sharing. 

Today maybe you need to understand the concept of lifetime value simply so that you can raise more money. Or maybe you need to understand lifetime value because you feel discouraged – like you’re not making the progress that you need to make with your work. Either way, be encouraged! When one life is changed, it never stops there. Transformation always has a ripple effect. I can’t wait to share this article with Uncle Bob.

If you want to hear more about this story, listen to the Taking Donor Seriously Podcast where I further explain this story.


  1. Brad,
    As always, you inspire me to look at angles I would never think of. This idea of lifetime value is something I had not thought of in the work we do and how God has blessed our mission. This will be a part of my speech at our next Gala. I appreciate your knowledge and the succinct way you portray these thoughts.
    Have a Blessed Thanksgiving and thank you for all you do!

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