5 Rules of Thumb For Trickier Support Raising Circumstances

When it comes to raising support, relationships can have tricky nuances that come in wide variety. One potential partner you may see every day and have a strong relationship with, and another you may not have talked for years. In most every circumstance, the best practice of asking for financial support of an individual remains tried and true – face to face appointments. However, at times you may find yourself in a circumstance that is not so cut and dry on how to get the appointment.

Throughout your process there will most likely asks that take some additional thought to navigate correctly, and thus here are several helpful rules of thumb that could help navigate those more nuanced circumstances:

1. Always default to the most relational means possible when making the ask. 

At times you’ll question how to best approach a potential partner and ask for a face to face appointment. Say you see someone on your contact list at church on a regular basis and you are wondering if you should send them an invitation letter in the mail first, go up and talk to them to ask for an appointment, or phone call them? How do you know what is best? My general rule of thumb: go for what is most relational! The most relational may mean walking up to them after church and asking for a appointment.

When deciding how to approach it – it may help to see the roles as reversed – think about how you would want to be approached for an appointment if your potential partner was the one asking you. Keep in mind though, this does NOT mean I’m a fan of using texting as the best way to ask for an appointment, even if you text someone on a regular basis.

2. Check your motivation if you aren’t reaching for a face to face appointment following the basic process.

Are you veering away from calling an individual asking for a appointment because there is a more logical way (such as talking to them in person), or is your motivation to get out of making a phone call because it feels scary and awkward to you? If there’s a more logical and relational way in a special circumstance, that may be okay, however stick to the process for the bulk of your asks. If your motivation for doing something like Facebook Messaging instead of calling someone is off (ie. your trying to cut corners due to lack of time or because you just don’t want to make phone calls), please be honest with yourself about that and go back to the basic process (invitation letter or phone call + appointment).

3. If it feels awkward to send an invitation letter, call first. If it feels awkward to call first, send the invitation letter first. I believe at times sending a invitation letter before making a phone call can be an helpful way to start a conversation of potential support.

What is an invitation letter?

  • A simple one page letter with a brief (very brief!) summary of what you’ll be doing in ministry and that you need to raise 100% of your finances.
  • A good invitation letter mentions that YOU will be contacting them soon (within a week) to connect with them further about your assignment, it does NOT say that they should get in touch with you. Always seek to keep the ball in your court!
  • Should be followed up with a phone call (or the most relational means to approach – see number 1!) asking for an appointment, as invitation letters are a invitation (hence the name!) to further conversation.
  • Invitation letters DO NOT give a lengthy dissertation of your future assignment or calling, but briefly outline the basic details.
  • Invitation letters DO NOT ask for finances. Ever.
  • Includes a catchy (but brief) intro.
  • Always includes a handwritten ps. (that will be the first thing they see and read!).
  • Includes your basic contact information.
  • Invitation letters can be helpful when you want to break the ice before making a phone call and to give your potential partner time to pray and consider support before you call.

A great rule of thumb is if it feels awkward to make a phone call first, then send an invitation letter first. If it feels awkward to send an invitation letter first, you skip that step and go straight for the phone call.

4. If someone lives too far away for a face to face appointment, either set up a FaceTime / Skype Appointment or wait until you will see them. 

Sometimes setting up an appointment isn’t cut and dry due to the proximity of your potential partner. Say I live in Missouri and a friend I want to ask for financial support lives in Alaska, and I have no reason to travel to Alaska nor them come to Missouri. In that type of circumstance it is likely that I will be connecting with them in another way other than face to face.

A great rule of thumb here is to try first to seek out a virtual meeting using your their preferred method (FaceTime and Skype are some good examples). Simply call them up like you would if you were asking for a face to face appointment, but instead schedule a virtual meeting time. (It’s always going to be better to actually see someone when you make an ask, as the connection overall will be richer!) It may be that they have time right then and there for the appointment, switch over to FaceTime and voila!

Of course, there will be circumstances in which someone is not able to meet virtually. Say for instance my friend in Alaska has never used FaceTime or Skype and wouldn’t know the first thing about accepting that type of call. I would then divert to making the ask via phone with that individual. When doing this, check to make sure they have time for a lengthier phone call, if not, schedule the phone call for another time (but don’t just say I’ll give you a phone call another time – truly schedule it with a date and time). I would then proceed to do the shortened version of my appointment over the phone live or at the scheduled time.

In another variance, it may be that your potential partner in Alaska will be visiting Missouri at some point in the future while you are raising support. Simply wait until closer to the time they are coming in town to phone call for an appointment or send an invitation letter.

In yet another variance, it may be that you will be visiting Alaska but not for several months. In that circumstance it may be better to hold off on contacting that individual until about a month (you want to give plenty of time for a heads up that you are coming so that you can schedule an appointment) prior to your scheduled trip.

5. Remain confident in your calling. 

Whatever curve balls a potential partner is throwing at you during an appointment or prior to the appointment, try to focus on remaining confident in your calling! By following the call of God on your life, I promise you are super inspiring to those around you! Remind yourself on the daily why you are raising up a team and how God has called you. And of course praying and asking for God’s guidance will always help when those curve balls come.

Do you have a special circumstance you have questions on? Shoot me your questions in the comments!

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6 Support Raising Goals for 2019

Here are some goals to consider in making 2019 a fabulous ministry partnership development year:

GOAL #1: BE GREAT AT KEEPING UP WITH YOUR EXISTING FINANCIAL AND PRAYER PARTNERS. 

Start the year off right with a commitment to regular, quality communication with your existing support team.  Here are some tips on how to beef up your communication efforts this year:

  1. Spend some time organizing your social media, including any Facebook groups you’ve created for your partners. Develop an ongoing plan for regular posting this year. If your stuck for ideas, look at what other workers are doing who seem to have healthy support and social media a strong social media presence.
  2. This year, do more than just send a quarterly newsletter to your team. Move your communication beyond that, and find various ways to reach your team personally. Of course, keep doing the newsletter, but also think of ways to communicate individually with your support team members such as sending individual postcards, saying hi on Facebook Messenger, sending a text, sending a video, Skyping, etc. Statistically speaking, the majority of people who stop giving do so because they don’t think the person they are giving to cares about them. Remember, without your financial and prayer team you WOULD NOT be ministering to your particular population. Make them feel valued and it will make all of the difference to them, and ultimately to you. Strive to keep your financial partners informed and make them actual friends. Contact them personally, ask how they are doing, and how you can pray. Give personal updates. I PROMISE this is a BIG DEAL.
  3. Set weekly and monthly calendar reminders for ongoing communication with your team. Have ongoing reminders pop up on your phone / computer and rotate who gets a personal email (or whatever medium you choose), so that you have reached out at least twice a year personally to everyone on your support team. The communication can be comprised of a brief update of how you are, asking them how they have been doing, and if they have any personal prayer requests. It doesn’t have to be long to be effective.

GOAL #2: STAY (OR GET) ORGANIZED. This goal is pretty self explanatory. If you are struggling in an area of staying organized, get back on the horse. Being organized with records of who you have asked, who has given, when they have given, how much, etc. is important to have in the genesis of a lifestyle of partnership development. If you are organized you will have more time for ministry and more time for staying connected with your financial and prayer partnership team – it’s that simple.

GOAL #3: MAKE YOUR PRESENTATION GREAT. If you are regularly speaking inside church congregations or small groups, make sure what you are saying is as effective as it can be. Don’t have a mediocre presentation – make it great! Video yourself giving your next sermon or 5 minute window in front of a congregation. Spend some time going through that video and thinking of ways you could improve. Send it to a few trusted friends for a critique. Having their honest feedback could be what takes your presentation from “meh” to “YESSS!!” If you haven’t polished your presentation in awhile go through it with fresh eyes thinking of ways to improve. Maybe you could add a short video, or a visual of the population you serve? Maybe you could add a new effective story?

GOAL #4: PRAY FOR YOUR FINANCIAL AND PRAYER PARTNERSHIP TEAM. When was the last time you made prayer for your financial partnership team a regular part of your prayer life? Have you ever prayed for your team? If you haven’t taken the time to talk to God about your team, then start this year. There are multiple benefits of praying for your team that go beyond the obvious. For starters remembering your team in prayer will promote your desire to stay connected to them, naturally have you asking what is going on in their lives, and will remind you that they are a vital part of your ministry.

GOAL #5: SPEND MORE TIME LISTENING. Research states we retain around 25% of what we hear, and in an average conversation we spend around 60% of our time listening. We take the skill of listening for granted, but may I suggest let’s get really good at listening 2019! Be interested in other people above yourself, don’t listen with the intent to reply – listen with the intent to understand. It will make all of the difference in your communication and how others perceive you as a leader in ministry.

GOAL #6: USE VIDEOS. According to statistics found on the www.Cadre31.com website videos on landing pages increase conversions by 87%. Not only that, 65% of audiences are visual learners and visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than by text. Let the reader understand: videos are a big help in effectively communicating your visionIf you have not created a high quality video that communicates your ministry vision I highly suggest you make one in 2019.

May your 2019 be a year filled with happy and relational support raising!

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HOW TO TALK TO YOUR AUNT MERLE AND COUSIN GARY AT CHRISTMAS

I know from my own experience and coaching numerous workers that seeing relatives over the holidays can be stressful, and can be particularly stressful when raising support. Do you make an ask, or just conversation? How much detail should you go into about your assignment with that relative that isn’t a believer? What’s with all the side comments and disapproval from Aunt Merle?!

Sigh.

Unfortunately, I can’t give a formulated response to how to handle every conversation with your relatives. There are simply too many variables, such as the strength of the relationship, how far along you are with raising your budget, if you have had a personal conversation with them or appointment prior concerning support, etc. Making an ask during Christmas may be the best course of action, however it may also not be the time for it. How does one know? The only thing I can offer here without knowing your exact situation are a couple of quick tips:

  1. If you are going to make an ask during Christmas, I would consider trying to prepare your relatives prior, making sure they understand you want to set aside time to talk with them specifically about your assignment and ask if they would like to join some aspect of your team. Essentially, treat it the same as you would prior to an appointment, it’s just the appointment may be during Christmastime.
  2. If you are having trouble figuring out the best course of action on how to approach family members over Christmas about support, consider asking a seasoned worker or coach on how to best approach these important conversations. Sometimes having a sounding board, and particularly one with experience, can be extremely helpful. Don’t be afraid to get into the weeds with your coach or mentor and explain the relationship dynamics.
  3. When talking about support or your assignment in general, err on the side of boldness and confidence. The more confidence you have in yourself and in your ministry, the more your relatives will too.
  4. Not too much unlike, #3, favor honorable directness over beating around the bush when talking about support. Don’t hem and haw around the subject. Experience has shown me the more up front about it the better.
  5. Lastly and most important: this Christmas, strive to be a good listener.

Listening is one of the most important skills you can learn to perfect in conversation, and all it takes to do so really is a little mindfulness. When it comes to Christmas, you will undoubtably have numerous opportunities to practice! Thus, my main piece of advice is to strive to listen. Be present in the moment, and present with the person in front of you. You can try literally telling yourself  (maybe not out loud though, so those relatives believe your sane) to focus on the people around you and not on yourself. Think about listening more than you speak. Believe that your aunt Merle and cousin Gary have something to teach you, because truly everyone has something to teach you!

All of that being said, below are 10 easy steps to become a better conversationalist. Try and keep these things in mind as you speak with those relatives that may challenge you this Christmas.

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Be a listener that is seeking to understand, not just seeking to get a word in and reply. Your relatives will appreciate your attentiveness and chances are you will feel more inspired and fulfilled by being mindful of the people around you and really focusing on them. Treat your Christmas parties, celebrations, and interactions with relatives as an opportunity for ministry! I pray you have a Merry Christmas friends!

The Facebook Campaign

screen shot facebook campaign vid

I have been sharing for a couple of years now how effective a well-executed Facebook Campaign can be. The idea started from the Assemblies of God Mobilization department to utilize the power social media can have in expanding one’s network. And man we have seen the idea spread and grow over the years!

This could be the perfect time of year to launch your campaign if your trying to get to 100% before the end of the year. This is actually a post from last year, but thought it would be good to share again because tis’ the season!

For those of you who don’t know what what a Facebook Campaign is, let me explain. In one sentence – essentially it is a campaign for monthly or cash support on Facebook set to a specific amount of time and a specific goal. Of course, you’ll grab the big picture by watching the video above.

To be clear, I am against asking for funds on Facebook or any other type of social media in most any other context (besides maybe a short video on Giving Tuesday or for a End of Year Campaign). I believe the absolute best way to ask for monthly financial partnership is via personal face-to-face appointments. I also do not believe the Facebook Campaign to be the end-all-be-all in support raising. However, I have seen it be very useful. Those whom I have coached who launch well executed Facebook Campaigns (after they have reached at least 75% of their support goal and built up healthy teams) have seen some pretty awesome success. Some workers I’ve coached have raised as much as $1,000 in monthly support. Others have raised $10,000 in cash from doing a Campaign. For most campaigns I see, a typical amount to raise is around $300-400 in monthly support or around $700-$1,000 in one time cash gifts.

If you are interested in launching your own Facebook campaign, follow the information on the video. To go along with the video, here are a few things I find important to emphasize:

1. It is VERY IMPORTANT while doing your FB campaign to stay abreast on all likes and comments that come to you campaigners pages. Check them every day and more than once a day. Return comments with direct messages (DM) and likes with DM when it feels appropriate. It is your job to connect further with the people responding, and if they have commented or liked but haven’t given, chances are with a personal message from you they may.
2. Create great graphics and videos. No half-way doing this thing or results will be minimal. With a little work, the results will be fantastic.
3. Create a reasonable goal. (see video)
4. Follow up with your new financial partners after the Facebook campaign. Never let someone start giving to you without trying to get to know them. Attrition rates for someone giving to you on a monthly basis that you don’t know at all are statistically low – so beat that by building a relationship with your new financial partners. Do this by emailing them, calling them, Facebook messaging them. Whatever you do, ask them questions about themselves. Of course don’t overwhelm them – make them feel safe as they probably don’t know you well. Use common sense. Think about what would make you feel connected if you were in their shoes.
5. Think about creating a Facebook Secret group with your campaigners and some prayer partners in the group. In that group you can post your posts for the campaigners every day. There should be around 15-20 campaigners and perhaps somewhere around 10-15 prayer partners in this group. (Your prayer partners will probably catch a burden and start funding you monthly if they aren’t already on your team 🙂 Sometimes asking around on FB on your secret group or in your newsletter prior to see if anyone wants to be a part will help give you a few extra campaigners as well posting on your behalf. Make sure you make your campaigner team full of people with various levels and places of connection. See if you can get a few people of influence to be on your campaign team as well.
6. Go above and beyond in your communication with with your campaigners from the very beginning. Tell them your goal and how many days for the campaign, and communicate that you want them posting every day. ALSO VERY IMPORTANT to find out how they can best receive the post information from you. Some people post on Facebook from their phones – so a text may be better. Some people may do better with you giving them content in an email. Some may remember just fine by only getting it through your secret group. Find out what works best for them so they don’t miss a post. Make it easy for them!
7. Encourage your campaigners to change the wording of their posts if they want to to make it personal to them / their audience. Just give them guidelines and make sure they stick to security rules and use your graphic. You may want to feed them the wording for the first couple of days and then encourage them to create their own with the content you’d like posted.

I hope this video and post helps. As we come up into Year End Giving, it may be a perfect time to launch your campaign (if your around 80% raised of course!). Go for it – I think you’ll find some success in creating your own! – JF

Year End Giving: 8 Ways To Maximize The Best Support Raising Time of Year

Did you know 31% of ALL GIVING in the States occurs in the month of December? And not only that, but that 12% of giving occurred in the last three days of the year? That’s right. 12% all in 3 DAYS.

So, you know, that’s a lot.

Do you have a year end giving strategy? It may seem early to be thinking about it, but you should, as you are going to miss out on a huge opportunity if you don’t start thinking about your strategy now.

In October and early November, it’s great to laser focus one’s efforts on face to face appointments as people are in solid routines with school, etc. Even as the holidays approach, F2F appointments now through the end of the year should continue to be your main focus. That being said, toward the holidays there are additional touches you can create to show your existing team you care as well as generate some excitement and cash gifts. So toward the holidays, let things shift a bit from business as usual. Statistically speaking, people are going to give. And they want to give to someone they know. Which would be you. Right? Right.

All of that being said, let’s break it down to some specific ideas for your year end strategy:

1. FACEBOOK LIVE Q&A

The main content of a FB Live Q&A should be comprised of giveaways, trivia / info on your assignment, questions for the audience, and time to let them as you questions. Make it simple and fun, and promote it however you can before hand. Consider doing one somewhere towards the beginning-ish of November. Here are some thoughts on a Facebook Live from a worker who did one last year:

REFLECTIONS ON A FACEBOOK LIVE Q&A:

DID YOU USE YOUR iPHONE OR YOUR COMPUTER? 

I used my iPhone because it has a better camera than my chrome book. If your laptop has a good camera though, I’d recommend using that because I think it’s easier to the comments that come in. I basically had my computer off to the side reading comments from there. Also FYI if you start the live on your phone vertically you have to keep it that way-it won’t switch over if you turn your phone. I’d recommend starting horizontal.

DID YOU DO GIVEAWAYS? 

I did giveaways of books. They were just what I had on hand as I thought of giveaways last minute. I had a prayer book for XX as well as some of the books from my ministry.

DID YOU DO TRIVIA QUESTIONS? IF SO WHAT? 

My trivia was how I did the giveaways. Some was about me and my testimony and others were about the country.

OTHER THOUGHTS?

I announced it a couple days ahead of time, and went Live the day before just for a few minutes to make sure everything worked well. You can also practice going Live on your own feed by setting your security settings to “only me”. I did that just to set up the lighting, and to make sure my background was not too distracting. I also think it would be helpful, if you had somebody reading the comments to you. As a single gal, I was wishing that I had asked somebody to do that for me in the midst of it. Also, my parents had come up with quite a few questions that I had on hand just in case people were not engaging, or the questions lagged for a minute.

2. GIVING TUESDAY

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Giving Tuesday, which occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a day for non-profits and others raising funds to solicit donations. It is a GREAT DAY to post something online asking friends and family to give.

The example below is from a family who was going to a sensitive location. For Giving Tuesday they set a specific goal of $1,000 to go to pre-school and language learning. They promoted throughout the day (and prior!) by posting multiple times it on their Secret Facebook Group, which was comprised of people who were already a part of their team either in prayer and/or finances. They also created a post prior to Giving Tuesday on their regular Facebook page, asking if anyone was interested in hearing more about their journey. Then they added those interested parties to their Secret Facebook Group so that they could see the posts.

Do you want to know if they made their goal? Screen shots of their posts and progress are below. For security purposes I am not sharing the totality of their ADORABLE video, however, I did write down their script and have it below. It’s a great example of how you can raise over $1,000 in cash in ONE SINGLE DAY with a little bit of effort and excitement. By the way, the Smiths were EXCELLENT at face to face appointments and had a solid team in place by the time Giving Tuesday was in place. You may think Giving Tuesday wouldn’t work for an already established team…but see below for the results!

VIDEO SCREEN SHOTS:

 

 

 

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Jason: “Hi guys, we are the Smith family. This is baby Justin, my wife Sara, and I’m Jason. Justin just turned 1 year old yesterday (all: YAY!) We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!”

Sara: “After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday if there is anything left in your bank account today is what is called “Giving Tuesday”. It’s an opportunity to bless people who are in the process of raising money. Many of you know that we are moving to X in the spring and we have been in the process of raising our monthly budget. But we also have to raise a cash budget up front. We are asking our friends and family on Facebook to consider giving us a cash gift of $25. Our goal is to raise $500 for Justin’s school and $500 for our language learning training for a total of $1,000 in just 1 DAY! You can give towards Justin’s school which will give him the opportunity to learn language, learn the culture, and make friends. Or today you could choose to give to our language training which will give us the opportunity to learn X and connect with people in their language.”

Jason: “Now it’s super easy to give, all you have to do is click the link and it will take you straight to the page where you can give. Then if you would send us a Facebook Message telling us which of these two things you gave towards – that way we can keep a running tally. Otherwise we won’t know for a couple of days, and that’s way less exciting.”

Sara: “Thank you friends for your generosity we appreciate you more than words can say.”

Both: “Happy Giving Tuesday!”

*funny bloopers with Justin and family at the end

*graphics displayed on video about link with arrows, Giving Tuesday, and Thank You. 

*fun music in the background – light and airy. 

POSTS:

Giving Tuesday 1

Giving Tuesday 2Giving Tuesday 3Giving Tuesday 4Giving Tuesday 5Giving Tuesday 6

3. NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER

Send out a regular newsletter at the beginning of November, even if you have done one recently.

  • Keep it to 1 page – be brief.
  • Keep it ministry focused with specific stories.
  • Use it to promote any Facebook Live or Giving Tuesday efforts you will be doing.
  • Say thank you!
  • Don’t do any asks on this newsletter.

4. CHRISTMAS CARD / YEAR END LETTER

Do Christmas cards along with a year end letter sometime before December 31st (think about sticking it in the mail the day after Thanksgiving). I think it’s a good idea in some circumstances (see below for more on this) to bundle these two and stick them in the mail together, the card of course being Christmasy with the year end letter inside. Send these out to your existing financial and prayer partner list.

Include the following components:

  • Merry Christmas greeting.From the Montgomery family
  • Express your authentic thankfulness for your support team. Emphasize and focus your letter on the impact your partners are having.
  • Percentage update of where you are at raising your funds.
  • A gift-wrappy-Christmasy-wonderful-snowy graphic that has your organization’s giving website / ways to give. (Make it pretty – I made the one to the right in 5 minutes using Canva.com)
  • An actual ask in the letter for finances (yep, this is the only time of year I say go for it on a letter!). Consider making it about one story of a life changed or need.
  • Do a nice handwritten PS.

Tips for year end letter:

  • Switch this up from a regular newsletter. Use a slightly different template than a regular newsletter and make it more like a letter.
  • Don’t send an ask year end letter to anyone who recently started giving, just gave one time recently, or just increased their giving. (probably within the past 6 months). Just send them Christmas cards instead. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too many asks.
  • Consider creating a different version of your year end letter to those who haven’t started giving yet or didn’t give when asked. Change particulars as needed for the audience.
    • Perhaps for people who have said that they can’t give- give them a soft opportunity to give. Change the thankfulness for being on your support team and instead thank them for their prayers and involvement in your life.
    • For those you haven’t yet met with, change the particulars to reflect your desire to meet with them soon and thank them for the involvement in your life. You may want to include a soft ask but not as bold as to those you send it to who you’ve already met with.
  • Snail mail your year end letter.
  • Keep it to 1 page make it look really nice!

5. FACE TO FACE NOW!

Have as many face-to-face appointments as you can NOW. Generally speaking, it’s the best time for F2F in October and early November. People are into their routines and willing to give. In November and December are you are tempted to put the breaks on contacting individuals for F2F appointments? Sure, time for interaction may level off the weeks of holidays but experience has taught me that it can also be a GREAT time for face-to-face appointments; particularly if you are in from out of town and catching up with family members or old friends! Don’t stop reaching out to connect with people over coffee and making the ask. Some tips:

  • Try and ask them for a F2F early. Give them a couple of extra weeks to put it in their calendar.
  • Get a small gift for your potential financial partner and bring it to your appointment.
  • Make it about them when you meet as much as it is about you. Ask questions and get excited about who they are.
  • Send a thank you card within 48 hours after you meet – regardless of responses!
  • If you cannot reach someone toward the holidays, don’t sweat it. Try reaching out to them again in January.
  • Pay for their coffee.

6. SMALL GIFTS

Send your members of your partnership team small gifts. December is a great time of year to express your thankfulness to your support team. Go above and beyond that newsletter!

7. FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN

A well crafted, intentional, relational Facebook Campaign can be helpful during these months of giving. Consider creating a Facebook Campaign in October, November, or December if you haven’t already done one recently. Keep in mind, this is advisable only if you have gotten far enough in your financial partnership (75-80%) to start one. Also, for Facebook Campaigns don’t do one for the end of the year if you already plan on doing Giving Tuesday and a Facebook Live Q&A. Try to pick between Giving Tuesday posts + a Facebook Live Q&A, or doing a Facebook Campaign. It’s best to NOT do all a couple of weeks apart so that you don’t over saturate your social media audience.

8. EMAIL AFTER CHRISTMAS

Send out an email on December 29th or 30th. Include the following.

  • Greeting of Happy New Year for your partners
  • Remind them of your ministry as they execute their giving.
  • Use that christmasy-graphic and update it to be new-years-y with a clickable link on giving online.
  • Don’t include a formal ask. Just thank yous’ and the graphic on how to give online.

OTHER TIPS:

  • Stay consistent with your goals and shoot for a multi-channel approach. The secret sauce for creating a successful year end strategy is all about sequence. What does that mean? Essentially, sequence is you creating a goal and using that message/goal consistently to create a multi-channel integrated approach. Your goal should be consistent across any blogs or websites, social media, email, and written mail.
  • Have your strategy in place and communication pieces written BEFORE November.
  • Sequence maximizes the return on your effort and time investment. Stay consistent.
  • Try to get a hook when creating your goals. Maybe an image, theme, tagline, story.
  • Try to be eye-catching. Be compelling.
  • Less is more. The fewer words the better. Try to keep letters, etc. personal and short. Keep videos as short, fun, and informative as possible.
  • Don’t send a year end letter to anyone who just started giving, gave a special gift, or increased their giving in the last six months. Just send them a Christmas card.
  • Customize two different letters: one for on-going financial partners, one for non-givers.
  • In your wording, focus on the partner. Example: “There is hope, and that hope is you.” Talk about how your partners make the world better with their gift: “You gave 50 kids the gift of Jesus last year with your donation, and now you can do more.” The partner and the partnership between you becomes the hero of this story. Acknowledge their important role in your mission.
  • Don’t let your partners only hear “asks” from you. Be sure you stay on top of personal communication. The routine newsletter that arrives in early November will be helpful – 1 page with pictures, ministry focused with specific stories. But get beyond that and reach out in micro relational ways to your team.

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15 Creative Support Raising Ideas

Let’s talk about creative support raising. I want to begin by saying the absolute best way to invite potential partners onto your team is the face-to-face appointment. Absolutely hands down! The ideas below aren’t fancy techniques or short cuts to bypass the face to face appointment, or replace the importance of an informed and relationally invested team. However, you may have the bandwidth, creativity, and even the need to use some creative support raising techniques in addition to classical methods. Sometimes a creative event or idea can help a worker go from stuck at 20% raised to 40% raised, or from 75% to 90%, thus creating needed momentum. Creative support raising can also raise awareness with people you may not know yet, produce excitement, and potentially raise a portion of a cash budget or ongoing monthly support. With a little effort and planning, creative ways of raising support can be helpful and can work! Though some of these ideas may not be new, I hope sharing them helps you to think of different ways to raise portions of your budget.

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Do you have any creative support raising ideas? Have you done something in the past that was successful? Post your ideas and experiences in the comments!

Links from infographic above:

Eurasia Coffee & Tea

Connect Cards

Non-Fundraising and Fundraising Events

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Get the Right Perspective, Get to 100%

I try whenever possible to stay away from the words “fundraising” and “donor“when describing support raising as a ministry worker. Instead I use the phrases “partnership development” and “financial partner“.

Why you ask? The nuance lies within the overall perspective of raising one’s budget.

The word “donor” denotes someone who gives blood, gives one time, or is involved in a limited transaction. “Fundraising” denotes car washes, bake sales, golf tournaments, and transactional events. Right? Right. Of course fundraising and donors are in and of themselves not bad. OF COURSE. However, neither indicate an ongoing relationship between the giver and the organization or ministry. If our perspective of raising funds leads us to believe all we are doing is fundraising, it is likely we will struggle raising our support because what we are doing is truly more than fundraising. Simply put: we do more than fundraise. We invite people to partner with us in ministry.

Conversely, partnership is defined as this: “two separate but equal parties, with separate but equal responsibility, working together to achieve a common goal.” 

I like that definition much more as it encapsulates a what a healthy perspective while raising a budget looks like. It clarifies that the one sending is vital to the ministry instead of merely standing on the sidelines. The word partnership keeps us mindful that we are to be good stewards of our resources as Christians, and stewards of our calling to the Great Commission – whether that looks like going or sending. “Partnership” says WE ARE DOING THIS TOGETHER.

Experience has shown me that ministry workers who know the difference (in their hearts and attitude) between “fundraising” and “partnership” are those that succeed in raising their financial partnership teams. And FYI, success looks different than just getting to 100% and getting to the field fully funded. Again, think perspective — getting to 100% is only part of it.

Success in partnership development looks like fulfillment, retention in partnerships, healthy mindsets, healthy relationships, joy, actual enjoyment in the process, and getting to one’s field in ministry fully supported.

The opposite of success is strained relationships, procrastination, anxiety, 80% raised budgets being “good enough”, and low attrition in partnerships.

I believe that success in partnership development is 90% perspective.

“If our perspective of raising our funds leads us to believe all we are doing is fundraising, it is likely we will struggle raising our support because what we are doing is truly more than fundraisingSimply put: we do more than fundraise. We invite people to partner with us in ministry.” 

Those that are successful hold Paul’s perspective when he says “Not that I desire your gift, what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Philipians 4:17 

Successful partnership development knows those that join your team are a vital and dynamic part of your ministry.  Partner relationships become important, growing, and vibrant instead of obligations and burdens.

I challenge you to take a look at your perspective in partnership development. Is it a fundraising perspective, or one of partnership? Why is it important to see it differently than fundraising? What’s the difference?

You may not immediately see the difference, but as you work to find out what a biblical perspective of financial partnership looks like, it’s likely you’ll find it much more enjoyable and doable. Perspective leads to attitude, which determines action. You will do what you believe. Try and shift to a healthy perspective on partnership development. Having a wrong perspective may hinder you staying in full-time ministry long term, and can lead to stress every time itineration season rolls around again. Let’s not do that. Let’s do successful partnership development that leads to vibrant 100% funded ministry and healthy engaged partnerships.  – JF

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The Pre-Itineration Task List

Recently, I attended a conference where I met with numerous workers who have lived off of support for a long time. Some of them had been in their assignments for over 15 years! Most of the workers I connected with are coming back home to enter into itineration and wanted some advice on how to best navigate a new successful season of support raising.

I found in my conversations that I was encouraging these workers to do several strategic things before they came back home, and I thought it would be helpful to share those ideas here. So, if you are already in your assignment and are gearing up for another season of raising up your team – this is for you! If you haven’t raised your support and haven’t made it to your assignment, tuck this post away for the future you! I hope these give you great ideas of where to start before you land back home. – JF

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I hope this gave you some helpful ideas! Below are some links with further information.

Here’s a link for more information on Connect Cards

Here’s a link from Support Raising Solutions on LOG charts

Here’s a link for more information on Fundraising and Non-Fundraising Events

Here’s a link explaining an outline of a Case Document

Raising Support: Just A Necessary Evil?

Is raising your support just a means to an end or a necessary evil? Have you considered the implications of support raising from a big picture / macro standpoint? Let’s talk about it for a minute.

The difference between a missionary who raises their funds verses a missionary who is paid is simply that – one raises their financial support and the other is paid to minister. Right? Right. Typically missionaries who raise their financial support are the norm. However, there are a denominations / sending agencies such that pay their missionaries. Though being a paid missionary sounds awesome, as we found out late summer of 2015, this method of funding can have it’s own set of challenges and downfalls. 

If you think about it from a macro viewpoint,  a sending agency / denomination that pays its missionaries / workers by design is limiting the amount of missionaries it can send out to the nations. I don’t know this as hard fact, but I can surmise that there simply isn’t enough money divided up amongst all of the sending agencies in the world to pay enough missionaries to finish the task of the great commission. 

Hence God’s good idea — calling us all to be a part of the Great Commission. Yes, all of us. This is where the brilliance of God and raising support comes in. Throughout the Bible (the Levites, Elijah, Nehemiah, Jesus, Paul, the Apostles) you find examples of ministers being supported to do the work of ministry the Lord has given them. It doesn’t just start with modern missions, raising finances has been God’s design all along. I venture to say it is His idea not only because it works, but because we are all called to take part – either as goers or senders – as I mentioned above. Mark 16:15-16. 

Let’s talk about some major pros and cons from a macro (big picture) and micro (smaller picture – your perspective) standpoint of a missionary who lives off of support versus one that is paid.

Benefits of a Missionary Raising Support:  

  • Macro: Provides the opportunity to inspire others into missions in congregations that you travel to speak at (missions simply wouldn’t be as prevalent without this type of advocacy – around 80% of the missionaries I work with say they were inspired to go to their mission field because of a conversation they had with another missionary or hearing another missionary speak)
  • Macro: The opportunity to invite and inspire friends and family to be a part of the great commission in a direct way
  • Micro: Raises awareness of your ministry
  • Micro: Preparation for the field before going to the missionary field
  • Micro: A team of individuals and churches who are likely to carry you in prayer, provide emotional and spiritual support, and are invested in what you are doing

Cons of a Missionary Raising Support:

  • Micro: Oftentimes it takes longer to get to the field
  • Micro: The uncomfortable feeling of asking friends and family for financial support
  • Macro: Some agencies do not require the missionary to raise 100% of their financial budget before going to their mission field leading to underfunded ministers and propelling the “poor missionary” mentality

Benefits of a Missionary Being Paid:

  • Micro: Doesn’t have to spend time raising support instead of going straight into assignment. **I believe this can also be a detriment in some cases, see below!

Cons of a Missionary Being Paid:

  • Macro: Fewer missionaries on the mission field, thus less people hearing about Jesus!
  • Macro: Less churches and individuals being inspired to be a part of missions
  • Micro: No team of committed individuals and churches lifting the missionary up in prayer on a continued basis. 

A common misconception and attitude amongst workers who raise their support, is that support raising is just a necessary evil and means to an end. I would challenge that thinking by saying let’s get past ourselves and see it for what God intended it to be! In the macro sense, raising support is about so much more than one person’s budget, essentially it is about the body of Christ partnering with the Great Commission. And in the micro sense, the fact of the matter is, when done correctly and with the correct biblical perspective, support raising is actually ministry. Raising support can be a exciting, rewarding, and truly vital ministry.

As I mentioned above, the one major upside to a missionary being paid for their service is they get to the field quicker and “waste” less time before they go into their assignment. However, I can’t tell you the amount of times I have heard missionaries that raise their support say that their season of itinerating (particularly at the beginning of their journey in missions) is the absolute best preparation they could ever imagine for the field. 

Pastor Chris, who is a guest blogger on this blog, recently wrote an article in which he explains this principle: 

“As a christian worker or missionary you are going to find many people interested in speaking to you about Jesus, but they may not always be ready to make a commitment.  They may not be prepared to forsake Islam or their family’s religion of many generations because you told them a nice story.  Successful ministry work requires faithful and patient follow-up with that person who has shown some interest.  The man who pumps my gas gave his life to Jesus, but only after I spoke with him many times.  He had to know more than my “story” about Jesus… he had to know ME. Was I a worthy person to carry such a story to him?  Could I be trusted?  Did I really believe the message I was sharing with him?

The first place you learn and practice how to do follow-up is while raising your financial support.  You may think raising money and sharing the gospel are vastly different but they are not.  If you are unable to look a pastor square in the eyes and say, “I need your support to fulfill God’s call on my life” – then you will find it difficult to look another man, with another religion, square in the eyes and say to him, “I need you to abandon everything you have been taught and follow Jesus!”I encourage you to think of the macro implications of raising your support in your season of itineration! Ministry, the Great Commission, God’s plan, more missionaries, etc. etc.”

In this season of itineration, I echo what Pastor Chris said- think of more than just the micro implications of raising your support – think of the bigger picture as well! Raising support means more missionaries spreading the gospel, more workers doing more good things, involving the body of Christ in the Great Commission, more prayer, more preparation, etc. It’s so much more about God’s plan than it is about raising your budget!

10 Easy Steps On Becoming A Better Public Speaker

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I used to be terrified to speak in public. Knotty stomach, raised pulse, sweating, and no sleeping the night before. Growing up I avoided any classes that had me speaking in front of the class. I cannot count how many times I ran in the opposite direction if there was even a hint of me having to be in front of a group.

Now, surprisingly, I’m mostly over it. Why the dramatic change? Practice. A lot of practice. I have been blessed with leadership over the years that encouraged me as well as provided no-way-out situations speaking to groups. (I hated them for it then, love them for it now) As for my personal skill level, I cannot say I have arrived exactly where I want to be; but I have come a long way and am proud of where I am today.

A lot of missionaries and those in ministry are plagued by fear of public speaking. Many missionaries are not afraid of public speaking, but have a long way to go to refine the art of giving a impactful message or 5 Minute Window at a church service. Whether you are starting off with cold sweats just thinking about public speaking, a boarder-line professional, or somewhere in between – I hope this simple info-graphic helps. Here are a couple of additional notes for some of the steps above:

STEP 4 VISUALS: If you are having a hard time describing where you are you are going overseas, a job you are doing, etc. use something visual to illustrate it! Also, if you are a missionary or traveling minister speaking at a church, set up a table in the back but don’t let it be boring. Create ways for people to comfortably interact with you after the service.

Some examples: (1) Create a alphabet in the language of the country you are going to so those stopping by your table can spell their names (and children’s names) in your country’s alphabet. (2) Have a video about your ministry continuously playing on a laptop or tablet. (3) Have something small available that represents your ministry.

STEP 9 THE ATTENTION GRABBER: After providing a brief introduction of yourself (and your family if you have one), you need an attention grabber. Use one of the following to grab people’s attention from the very beginning:

  • Share a short personal story. “I’d like to begin by telling you a story about Anna, a 5 year old girl I befriended in Spain.” 
  • Ask a group question or do a quick group survey. “Raise your hand if you have any idea where Qatar is on a map?” (then show the map later on the slide). “What do you think of when you hear the word “poor”? You shouldn’t be receiving actual answers, only developing a story / idea and involving the congregation.
  • A thought-provoking statement. Impressive to everyone (not just you). “Did you know that in Africa 1 out of every 10 people are _______” This of course needs to relate to what you are doing and why you are speaking with the group.

STEP 10 ESTABLISH A NEED: After you have their undivided attention, you must establish need. You can do this in multiple ways. Here are two suggestions that you can effectively establish need:

1. Share statistics and data. Appeal to the congregations logic and reasoning. Don’t overdo the stats — it’s easy to do.

2. Share stories, pictures, or videos. Appeal to the listener’s emotions with these. (If you shared a story for your attention grabber; a good idea is to come back to some aspect of the story, develop it more, and thread it throughout your presentation.)

One last word on public speaking: you will get better at it! Practice makes perfect, and the more you speak in front of groups the better you will become.

Are there any tips you have? Add them in the comments!

Want more information on public speaking, including an effective outline?  Read the Financial Partnership Development Workbook.