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.
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