Posted by: naccm | October 21, 2009

5 Keys to Fundraising – Part II

We were given permission to post Dr. Shadrach’s, The BodyBuilders Ministry, summary of 5 Keys to Fundraising. This week Iwill-work-for-food am posting the final three.  Would love to hear your input, resources, successes, and/or difficulties when it comes to fundraising for Campus Ministry.

3.  Pray and Plan Well

Pray Author S.D. Gordon said it well, “Prayer is the real work of the ministry. Service is just gathering in the results of prayer.” We need to bathe ourselves and our donors in prayer before, during, and after this support raising journey. God will go before you. He will also build a love for your donors as you pray for them individually.

Create Your Budget Include everything you need for your personal needs, giving, saving and ministry expenses. Seek to balance a lifestyle that will allow you to maximize your effectiveness with the group you’re reaching, but also be above reproach from your donors on the stewardship of your finances. If you happen to have school debt, simply include the required monthly amount owed and keep going. Your donors will admire you for keeping your promise to pay it back. Plan on and commit to raising atleast 100% of your budget before you even report to your assignment. Have a “when I raise my support” attitude, not an “if I raise my support one.

Namestorm Now that you have turned the whole process over to God you are ready to begin your planning. Write down every person that you have ever known during your lifetime. Don’t play Holy Spirit by saying, “Oh, that person would never give.” You’ll be surprised by a few that will give and… by a few that don’t! Also, think of people that have a heart for student work, missions or whatever group or area you are targeting. List churches, Sunday School classes, foundations, and corporations. The bulk of your support, though, will come from the individuals with whom you’ve met over the years.

Map Out a Plan Divide up all the names according to the cities they live in. Then label each name “hot”, “cold”, or “medium” depending upon whether they probably will give, probably won’t give, or that they might give. Next, pray and seek to attach an amount that you would like to ask them to give. Don’t use a one size fits all plan; instead, base the amount on what you perceive they are able and willing to give along with the kind of relationship you have with them. You might feel more comfortable suggesting a range of giving rather than a specific amount. Either way, know that the tendency for most support raisers is to ask for too little…not too much! Remember, there is no cash flow problem in heaven. Americans give billions of dollars to charity each year. I believe God has instilled in every person a desire to give and you are simply helping them to invest in eternal things, and thus build up their treasure in heaven. Go for it!

Plan Out a Map Figure out what city you will go to first, second, etc…Schedule it out on your calendar. If you want to send a letter in advance telling them what you are doing and that you will be calling, do it. But the key is to call each person in advance of the trip in order to get the appointment. During the call, don’t let them say yes or no to giving—your only objective is to get an appointment with them. Seek to line up all of your “hot” prospects first, then your “medium” prospects next, and finally (if you still need more appointments) the “cold” prospects.

4.  Ask Them Face to Face

This is the key. James 4:2 says “we have not because we ask not.” The word “ask” is used in the gospels 113 times. God wants to teach us about asking: Him and others. I have looked at surveys as to why people give and the number one reason is always because someone asked them! It is not unspiritual or fleshly to ask. It is good, Biblical, and faithbuilding to ask. Let’s not hide behind our fears. Let’s walk toward them and render them powerless! The worst thing that they could say is, “No”.

If you instead choose to cut corners, take the quick, easy route and just send a fund request letter out or make a group presentation you might have a 10% response rate. If you send a letter followed by a phone call asking for support, you might get 25% of people to say yes. But, if you are willing to sit down eyeball to eyeball with others and lay out the incredible ministry vision God has called you to, usually well over half of the folks pull their checkbooks out to join you as ministry partners! This approach takes time and money and courage, but it communicates to the donor that they (and your vision) are so important to you that you must meet with them in person. Don’t be fooled: HOW you go about securing their commitment will determine the amount, consistency, and longevity of their giving. My research shows that ministries who train their staff to ask for the gift (in person) raise their full budget in half the time than groups who simply share the need, but don’t ask. We have not….because we ask not. Sound familiar?

5.  Cultivate the Relationship

Here are the ABC’s for having a long and fruitful relationship with your supporters:

  • Remember it’s not fundraising, but “friendraising.” You can have an incredible ministry in their life and you might be their only connection to Jesus Christ or the Great Commission.
  • Consider tithing your ministry time to your support team: prayer, writing, calling, ministering.
  • Thank before you bank (when a new person or new gift comes in). Be prompt and professional in all of your correspondence and record keeping.
  • Regularly send (or email) well-written newsletters. Share how their investments are paying off along with some specific prayer requests. Occasional postcards, phone calls, and visits are great too. Beware: The main reason people drop off of support teams is that they do not hear from their missionary.
  • Win, Keep, Lift. When you win a donor they are now on your team. Keep them on the team by caring for and cultivating them. Periodically, ask them to consider lifting (increasing) their monthly or annual gift to you. Campus Crusade had a campaign where they were asking people to give 1 million dollars to their ministry. Almost 250 people said “yes”! Research showed, though, that the very first gift that each had made to this ministry years earlier had been on an average….a mere $10! Someone had taken the time to win, keep, and (over the years) lift them!

People will stick with you for life if you will appreciate them and keep them informed. View them as vital partners in your ministry and you will gain not only life long supporters, but friends too! One day you will turn around and realize how blessed you have been and that you too would not want to live any other way! Trust God and begin this exciting adventure today. You will never regret it!


  1. Good stuff – thanks for sharing it. How often do we do the face-to-face “ask”? I need to get better at this!

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