Connect Cards are Awesome.

Have you ever spoken at your home church, small group, or fundraising event and gotten stuck at your back table talking to a particularly chatty individual? All the other people scurry to lunch before your conversation ends and you feel the wave missed opportunities that just passed?  Whomp.

Insert a wonderful tool to help combat: connect cards!

What’s a connect card you ask? It’s a stack of cards you put on your display table, chairs of an event, and/or attach to Sunday morning’s bulletin. Connect cards give you the ability to follow up with interested people after a service or event is over, and is an effective tool all about facilitating more face-to-face appointments and building relationships with the body of Christ. Below there are some examples of connect cards from various workers I coach. (thanks guys!)

Now, don’t go off quite yet and make your own. I want to explain something important first – here we go – pay attention: keep in mind that connect cards are only appropriate in certain circumstances.

“Connect cards are only meant for events, services, and small groups where you have gotten permission to connect personally with individuals about giving.”

Connect cards should only be used when they fall in accordance with a pastor / leader’s protocol in giving. So don’t assume that these cards can be placed on chairs of a congregation without communication or sneakily stuck into bulletins on a Sunday morning. Connect cards are only meant for events, services, and small groups where you have gotten permission to connect personally with individuals about giving.

Why is this so important? Well, a lot of churches do their missions / ministry giving by collecting offerings and disbursing where the church leadership collectively decides. That means if you were to come into that congregation and ask all the people inside to give to you personally, it may mess up what the pastor, board, and leadership of the congregation has decided to give to. You DO NOT want to be that person. #boo

Thus, connect cards are preferably only when you ask the pastor / leader “how does your congregation do missions / ministry giving?” If they say you may connect with individuals inside of the congregation on your own, ONLY THEN do connect cards come into play.

Connect cards are ideal when speaking to your home church (after you’ve figured out the protocol with your pastor on giving), small groups, fundraising events, and the like. If you do use connect cards, make sure to explain them from the platform in which you are speaking from – letting everyone know how to fill them out and what they are for.

I hope these help you as you seek to build out new relationships as you interact with the body of Christ! See the examples below and have fun building yours!



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



Do Something Different, Use Sway

Have you ever heard of Sway? Sway is an App / web application that is about a year old and is a part of the Microsoft Office family of awesomeness.

It’s also free to use + simple, and I am in love with it. 

I wanted to dedicate a post to Sway because I think it can be a very effective (and outside-of-the-box) tool for anyone support raising. Below is a link of how I used it to present some basics on financial partnership development for an online class I taught:


Perhaps this makes you think, gee Jenn, that’s nice, but what are some practical ways I could use it in my support raising? Well, practical is practically my middle name – so I’ve thought about it and here is my list of ways to use Sway:

  1. Personal Stories. Connecting online with individual and church potential partners is a huge part of building your team. Use Sway to create something visually stimulating that immediately grabs people’s attention. I can see Sway helping you share your personal story and vision for ministry in some of the following ways (***always keep in mind – with all of these suggestions – to follow any security measures your sending organization  deems needed in developing content and sending out content):
    1. Put your Sway as a link in the signature of your emails.
    2. Email or Facebook pastors and potential support team members your Sway so they can read up a little of your passion and vision for ministry.
    3. Share your Sway on your Facebook group.
    4. Use Sway as a platform for a video. Instead of just watching your video – you could have it nicely displayed on your Sway with some text and background to enhance it even more.
    5. Put up your Sway on a tablet or computer for your display table for services, meetings, small groups, fundraising events, etc.
  2. Newsletters. Mailchimp is probably still the winner for electronic newsletters, but I wouldn’t hesitate to play around with Sway to see if one could create something of an archive of newsletters or something different from the norm.
  3. Reports. Infographics and interactive graphs are available on Sway and very simple to use. Here are some ways I can think of to use Sway for reports:
    1. Create a budget report with infographics and interactive graphs/charts to share with your support team or those on your potential support team who are asking for financial specifics.
    2. Create a landing page for your core prayer team. Include a video or other interactive material to get them excited about praying for your ministry (this could be prior to going to your field or while on your field).
  4. Presentations. If you have pictures or videos to share during your face-to-face appointments with potential financial partners, create a Sway to put them into one place. All you need is wifi or your phone to show the content.

Some advantages to using Sway:

  1. Downloading is not necessary. Sway is web and app based so no one will need  a certain software program to view your content.
  2. Sway comes with the ability to password protect the content and has various sharing preferences. For those of you going to sensitive areas, Sway comes with a little security. (however, as we all know nothing on the internet is wholly “secure”)
  3. Sway is great if you have a report, presentation, or personal story that needs to be updated on a regular basis. As it is web based, the person looking at your Sway won’t need to have the latest version sent to them, changes are automatically displayed for them.
  4. If creating a website seems daunting to you, you can create a simple one by using Sway. Fun!

If you have used Sway, please share with me how you used it for your work life or personal life! I would love to hear more examples of this tool.


How Postcards Are The New Postcards: Testimony from a Ministry Worker

Recently I received a letter from a ministry worker that I thought would be helpful to share with you. Essentially the letter is on the importance of keeping up with your financial partnership base, particularly through the form of postcards.

Thus this post is dedicated to all of you out there who have been in ministry partnership development for awhile. This post is also for those traveling overseas for ministry. Keep in mind however, postcards can work no matter if you find yourself domestically or internationally called / serving. Without further ado:

Dear Jenn,

I have a story to tell you.

The postcards…


Over a year ago you challenged people to write postcards to their support teams. I went out and bought some to start, but in busyness I never got started. Finally, I got around to them at the beginning of this year. I was doing great writing the postcards, and then I counted how many I still had left. I still had way over 100, more like 150, to go. I wasn’t even half way through and felt like I had written a million postcards. I felt discouraged and stopped for about a month.

Then, I got with it and finished. I wrote somewhere around 250 postcards total, to every single person or church that has regularly supported us–whether they started 2 months ago or have been giving since we first went out. Honestly, I was bored to death with what I said.

“Assembly So-In-So, When we see your faithful gift come in each month, we are so grateful. Your partnership enables us to build His church in Holland. Thank You.”

I wrote that or some variation of those same lines, postcard after postcard. Of course, I got especially good on the variations toward the last 50. I was so bored, yet, with every one I wrote, I WAS grateful. I looked at how many gave to us so faithfully over so many years. I saw the incredible faithfulness of our home church and the churches and individuals that sent us out. We have some that give just $5 a month, many at $50 or $100 and some with several hundred a month. I wrote to them all.

I was so bored, yet, with every one I wrote, I WAS grateful.


Today I just looked at our monthly giving from July. We had a huge month with NOT ONE SINGLE SPECIAL GIFT. It was comprised solely of all the people who regularly give. Many of those on our support team will miss a month or so, but no one missed this month. There are many months we will have a special extra few thousand from someone and that brings our overall budget up.

This month none of that–just faithfulness. And a great month.

Not only that, what blew me away was the new and renewed commitments. Usually there are 2 or 3. Today there are 27 NEW COMMITMENTS.  A few of those 27 increased the commitment. Some have given to us regularly and never made the commitment, but they took the time and made the commitment. Others have given for years, but never renewed it. This month, they renewed it.

Moral of the story: Postcards work.

Thanks for the encouragement to do something that is boring, but so worth it.

– Sincerely, “Kathie”

Emma’s Top 5 Tips to Get to 100%

From time to time I ask workers I coach to provide a top 5 list of what worked in their overall partnership development strategy. *Emma was a worker who reached 100% fully-funded within a few short months, and I thought she would be a perfect person for you to glean from. Without further ado, here are Emma’s top 5 support raising tips.

(*Emma’s name has been changed to protect her identity) 

1. Make a Crafty, Well-Executed, Invitation Letter. I got a lot of compliments from people on my invitation letters. The design evolved a lot throughout the process, but the basic philosophy was to make a letter that was cute, hard to ignore/forget about, fun to read, and fun to make (kept me from getting bored!). Same deal for the thank-you notes. I’ve attached some pictures below. 

2. Have Patience and Time. I invested ridiculous amounts of time in my face-to-face appointments. My ministry partnership development training gave me a lot of badly needed structure and organization (which I could not have done this without). I found that extravagant time invested in face time with potential partners yielded rich returns not only on pledges, but also on life stories, advice, prayer, encouragement, and relationship.

My longest face-to-face was 4 hours. It actually revitalized me when I was in a support raising slump. My longest phone call was 2 hours, but gave me the opportunity to speak life into someone struggling with depression and also witness to them about Christ! (I prayed for this person over the phone and they broke down in tears saying that they had felt an amazing presence of God!) The time I invested was totally worth it for me. 

“I found that extravagant time invested in face time with potential partners yielded rich returns not only on pledges, but also on life stories, advice, prayer, encouragement, and relationship.”

3. Ask the Unexpected People. As I type this email, I have just received a $100 monthly pledge from someone who I have not talked to in over a decade. Almost without exception my most generous, enthusiastic, and faithful partners are people I either met briefly one time, or haven’t kept in close touch with over the years. I heard in my training that it ISN’T those you expect to help who do, and found this to be very true! This has also given me a lot more confidence in asking.  

“Almost without exception my most generous, enthusiastic, and faithful partners are people I either met briefly one time, or haven’t kept in close touch with over the years.”

4. Take a Sabbath. I am a dismal Sabbath-taker and need so much growth in this area. After my sending organization’s training I decided to get serious and I got an accountability partner who was also raising her own funds. With her accountability I picked out a middle-of-the-week day (people tend to want to meet on weekends, and church can be work when you’re in ministry) to lounge around in PJs, bake, read the Bible and devotionals for hours, and watch kung fu movies on Netflix. I found that this not only rested me, but also gave me perspective and helped me evaluate where I was spiritually and emotionally each week. It was great motivation to work harder the rest of the week so I could take that full day off. 

5. Use a Short Video. I got a quick 3-minute blurb from a video created by my senior workers in France. It is a video with people and places from the actual city and church plant, and I used my smartphone to pull it off of YouTube and show to potential partners during appointments.

The video not only established a great emotional and visual connection to the ministry, but it gave me a short break where their attention was off of me so I could breathe, pray, and assess how the appointment was going. It also saved me a lot of talking because it explained the vision of the ministry with uplifting background music. As far as security concerns go, I carried around a pair of small headphones so that if the meeting was in a public place, people could watch it without every person in a twenty-foot radius hearing about the mission. 

– Emma

As her coach, I saw Emma succeed by sticking with the process and remaining consistent week after week. I also saw her creatively think outside of the box, but while doing so use the principles and techniques she knew from training to be tried and true.

Have you been successful in getting to 100%? Give us some of your tips in the comment section! – JF

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The Only Resource List You’ll Ever Need

Okay it’s not the only Resource List you’ll ever need, but it’s pretty great. Below are some websites and tools ministry workers are finding to be of great help to them. Do you have an online tool, app, or book you are finding to be a major help to you in support raising? Tell us about it in the comments!

resource-list-2016 (1)

  1. Cadre31
  2. A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen
  3. Piktochart
  4. Sway
  5. Dunham & Company
  6. Magisto App
  7. iMissionsPro, TNTMPD, MPDX, DonorElf, SupportGoal
  8. Funding Your Ministry by Scott Morton
  9. The Phone Call Mind Map
  10. Commission Creative
  11. Chalkline
  12. Support Raising Solutions, The God Ask
  13. Canva
  14. Happy Cow Missions
  15. 101 Fundraising
  16. Reachmodo
  17. Portent’s Content Generator
  18. Cadre’s Education Classes

Ultimately, It’s Not About You

About 10 years ago I transitioned from a full-time ministry position with a team of financial partners giving faithfully, to a secular position with a salary. (I of course found myself back into full time ministry eventually.) As I made this transition I wondered how to communicate the transition effectively to my support team, and how to tell them how much I appreciated them and their faithful giving throughout the years. Moving from a job in ministry to a secular position was a hard decision to make, but I knew the Lord was leading me. 

Thus as I developed my exit communication strategy I decided that instead of merely sending a newsletter sharing the news, that I would have appointments (or phone call if I they couldn’t meet face to face) with my team to let them know personally. As I began making phone calls and having appointments, it became clear to me that my team members had invested themselves and their hearts not only in me, but the ministry I served. 

During one particular phone call, a team member asked if I knew of anyone serving in the ministry that needed more financial support. I said yes, and they asked and if I could connect them together.

Thus a great idea was born: What if I asked my support team to transfer their giving to one my ministry co-workers? That way, my team would still feel invested in the ministry they came to care so much about and my formal co-workers would be strengthened. = WIN WIN SITUATION. 

I decided to ask each of my team members if they would prayerfully consider giving the support they had been giving me to my friend Gayathri. I explained to them that Gayathri was a fellow staff member from India, and was saved 3 years ago while coming to the States for her masters program. Gayathri had several uphill battles in her ministry partnership development, a major one being she had limited amount of contacts in America. I explained Gayathri’s specific ministry and why I thought they should give. 

The response from my team was overwhelming… especially for Gayathri! 

Gayathri not only raised the majority of what she needed to be fully-funded, she eventually ended up transitioning herself and becoming one of the financial partner’s new youth directors. Gayathri had done such a fantastic job building relationship with this financial partner that they asked her to join them in their own ministry! Again = WIN WIN SITUATION!

I share this story with you to plant the idea of transferring your financial partners when it is time in your head. If you ever transition out of ministry, what would it look like to ask your financial partnership team to transfer their giving? Here are some practical tips if you find yourself where I did 10 years ago:

1. When exiting or transitioning from your current ministry, don’t merely send a newsletter out! Personally contact as many of your team members as possible before sending a newsletter. Thank them for their faithfulness in giving and praying and share with them what you will be doing moving forward. Share with them what the Lord has done while you’ve been in ministry. Sit down face-to-face with as many of your financial partners as possible. 

** if you are overseas and making a transition, share with as many of your financial partners personally prior to sending out a newsletter or coming home. This can be done while you are still overseas using Skype, email, phone call, etc. When you do come back to the States, seek your financial partners out and have an extended time with them face to face. Share with them what the Lord did through your ministry while overseas. Make it personal and thank them for their giving. You never know if this is the end of your ministry career, so be intentional and purposeful with closing this season of ministry. 

2. When contacting your team members, ask if they would be interested in transitioning their giving to one of your co-workers. If they say yes, schedule a time that all of you can sit down together as able. Your role would be to introduce each party, sharing appropriate details and connecting them in relationship. 

*if you or your team member is overseas while transitioning financial partners, you’ll have to get creative on this. Make sure you default to the most relational means possible to connect your financial partners and your co-worker, and meet face-to-face when you can. 

3. Pray about what c0-worker(s) could use the additional support.

4. If you have a specific co-worker in mind (like I did with Gayathri), prep that person prior to your asking. Let your co-worker know your intention to ask your financial partners to transition their giving to them. 

5. Communicate with your co-worker that your expectation is for them to build fruitful relationships with their new financial partners. Make sure you don’t transfer your financial partners to someone who will not invest relationally with them! 

**if your co-worker happens not to shine in this area, or perhaps your co-worker is too new for you to know how excellent they are in this area, perhaps coach them through best practices of ministry partnership development and what you have learned along the way. Advice of a veteran who is fully-funded is always helpful! 

6. Follow protocol and guidelines of your sending organization if you ask your financial partners to transfer their giving. If you don’t know what they are, find out prior to asking. 

Ultimately, your financial partners are not yours, they are God’s. Truly, it is not about you. Sure one of the main principles of ministry partnership development remains: “people give to people above a cause.” However, hopefully as your financial partners have given to you over the years they have heard your passion for the work you have done – and hopefully that passion has been infectious. Thus, ask your team to transfer their giving to a worthy co-worker and see what happens. The Gayathri’s of the world will be grateful!