You Need To Listen To This Podcast

Recently a friend of mine from Support Raising Solutions, Aaron Babyar, was a guest on a great podcast called EngagingMissions.com. He spoke on the topic of support raising.

I think every ministry worker needs to hear it. Including you.

Think of this podcast episode like a audio syllabus for a upper-level support raising class at a fancy university. Also, if you have been searching for better language to describe what you are doing in raising up a financial partnership team, steal every one-liner Aaron says and turn it into your own vocabulary. Here are some great examples of Aaron one-liners for stealing purposes:

Begging and inviting — those are diametrically opposed.

My supporters are a part of my ministry because they are in it with me.

“Believe and have faith that it all depends on God, but meanwhile, work like it all depends on you.”

Take an hour to listen sometime this week and thank me later – here’s the link:

http://engagingmissions.com/em140-aaron-babyar/

 

Dealing with the Monster of Rejection

A subject that comes up regularly in the hearts and minds of ministry workers raising their finances is that of rejection. Eeew. I know, I’m going there. We are talking about it…

To explain a little further what I mean when I say “rejection”, I define “rejection” as facing the fear of rejection and/or what happens when we are given a “no” when asking for financial support.

I’ve gathered some insights from various ministry workers that I coach to speak on the subject of rejection. Before sharing those, I would like to share 5 thoughts that may turn the lights on the monster lurking in the corner.

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Re·jec·tion
rəˈjekSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea, etc.
    “the union decided last night to recommend rejection of the offer”

Facing rejection can be daunting to even think about in the context of raising funds. Will I damage the relationship? Will they say no? Will I be awkward? Will they be awkward? Will they answer the phone? Are they screening my phone calls? Do they not like me now that I’ve asked them for an appointment? Am I annoying? Did I ask for too much? If I call them and ask to get their commitment in what will they think? It goes on and on. All of these thoughts I’ve absolutely had myself and have talked with other workers about on a regular basis.

As far as actual rejection goes, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, it’s a sure fire thing while raising your funds (and let me point out, while in ministry in your field) you will deal with some form of rejection. I know – shocker. It just happens.

Whether it is the fear of rejection or actual rejection that is hanging you up from accomplishing your goals (or is just getting in the way of this being a great season of life in ministry) here are a couple of thoughts on combating the fear of rejection, or the “no” itself:

1.People have different giving goals, sometimes it just isn’t about you, it’s about them and the Lord. Not everyone is meant to join your financial partnership team, and that is okay. Tithes and offerings are a very personal thing between a person and God. For a lot of people giving directly links them to the cause they are passionate about, and giving may be their only outlet of involvement with that cause or ministry.

For example, let me give you a story: Say “Joe” is very passionate about disaster relief aid, but Joe works a full time job in food service and never gets to volunteer due to a busy and irregular schedule. Thus Joe is very passionate about providing finances to several disaster relief organizations and does not have much room in his budget to give to something that doesn’t fit within that context. Then you ask Joe to financially partner with you for reaching college campuses and Joe tells you no, because he just started supporting a new relief effort.

Now you have two choices here: (1) You could walk away from Joe feeling defeated because he didn’t partner with you monthly, and maybe even feel like somehow the relationship is damaged or awkward because he said no. Or (2) you could walk away celebrating that Joe is able to directly influence the thing he is passionate about, just like you are by starting your journey with ministry to college campuses. So which would you choose? Which do you normally choose? What do you automatically think when someone doesn’t give to you?

(Keep in mind, you could easily insert a pastor of a church into this story as easily as “Joe”. Churches have numerous projects, causes, and workers vying for their financial attention. Celebrate with churches who give in general, even if it isn’t to you!)

2. You don’t have to apologize I think this is one of the most important things to remember in the midst of asking for finances. Asking someone for financial support is okay and it’s even biblical. (If you doubt that to be true, here are some verses to check out) Also, what you are doing is downright cool and inspiring. Seriously. You don’t have to be ashamed about telling people about Jesus and you certainly aren’t the only one since the days of Moses who raised finances to do it.  If it means anything, I give you permission: You can be bold. You can be confident (and it actually helps). You don’t have to apologize for following God’s path, and you actually get to be an inspiration for those you connect with to follow their own paths with God!

3. Remember this is God’s thing, not yours. If He has called you surely He will provide for you. Also, He’s actually the one that set it up for the christian worker to live off of support. He can sympathize, Jesus empathizes (Luke 8:1-3), and has a plan for you and for your financial team. If someone doesn’t join maybe someone else is supposed to. I can be as simple as that, if you let it be.

4. Perceiving rejection is typically worse than actual rejection. What do I mean? If your anything like me, most of the time the real battle doesn’t even leave your own brain. Often times we become our own worst enemy when it comes to raising our finances. If you think about it, the real worst thing that can actually happen in raising your funds is asking and hearing a “no”.

However, I don’t think that we let that be the worst thing. I actually think the worst thing that happens to us is in the battle of our own minds – and as we focus on  perceived thoughts that may or may not be true we become jaded, upset, unfocused, unsure of our calling, etc etc etc. Practical combat here: avoid the troubles this creates by being clear in your asks and let the actual “rejection” be the worst thing that can happen (because really it’s not that bad!). Truly, sometimes the fear of rejection is more real than your actual being rejected is.

5. Just because a pastor or individual doesn’t immediately call you back doesn’t mean they are rejecting you (or mad at you). Try to keep in mind that it’s not always about you. People have busy lives and are not as keen on raising your support as you are. Pastors are busy and have a lot of various priorities. Individuals lives can get busy and inboxes can get full of emails and to-dos. Give those you try to contact a little grace and don’t give up too quickly. Don’t tell yourself they have said no before they have had the chance to.

If someone doesn’t connect with you after multiple attempts that’s okay. Give it a little time and try again. Maybe their season of life is a busy one. Here’s where it may get scary: sure, maybe they don’t want to join your ministry team. But you don’t know that until they say no. Whatever the case actually is, in your assessment try and assume the best before the worst and whatever you do, keep moving forward.

6. BONUS: Don’t give up! If you are reading this it is probably because you are doing something awesome God has called you to. If that is true then He has given you grace for it and He knows your obstacles and fears in the midst. I think the main thing I have learned in my personal experiences and from coaching is simple: keep your perspective biblical and your know that God has got this. Amen? Amen.

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To go along with these thoughts, here are a few more thoughts on rejection from workers who have recently gotten to 100% with a team of committed financial partners:

Worker 1: Someone once told me “God already knows your partners; you just have to find them.” That helped a lot in dealing with rejection. If someone says no, they’re just not one of the ones God had in mind for my team!

Worker 2: I would say that the hurt of rejection is a result of the expectation that said person is going to become a partner…so for us the biggest let downs are the ones that come from those people we though “for sure” would join our team. If we walk into support meet-ups having the understanding that it’s the Spirit doing the real convincing (even though it’s our jobs to communicate accurately and be straightforward), then we would walk out with the understanding that no matter how it ended, the Lord is in it and He’s the one forming our team.
From a practical stand-point, I would add that it’s better that you hear a “no” from a potential partner rather than a “yes” only to have that commitment fall through months down the line while serving on the field! (That helped me, anyway!)

Worker 3: Last week after reaching 99% fully funded, I lost a $200/mo supporter, and when I was praying about it I laughed! I thought “God is my supporter” (this sounds cheesier now that I’m writing it down.) I’m just saying – rejected? No. Trust God and keep going. One thing I’ve learned: It’s not about me.

Worker 4: God has hand-selected every church and individual financial partner that will get us on the field. Never let those pastors or financial partners that do not feel personally led by the Holy Spirit, or do not currently have the funds to support, feel like they have failed. Smile at them warmly and honestly and tell them the faith you have in God for getting you to the field. Typically they already feel both shame and regret for not being able to support you. Do not let them walk away feeling like they let you down. If we can’t handle this “rejection”, how will we handle the rejection when those we serve reject Christ when we share the gospel?

I hope you find some of this helpful. When dealing with the monster of rejection, remember to turn the lights on. It may not be as scary as you think!

Have thoughts? Post them in the comments!


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Busy? 10 Easy Ways to Keep Up With Donors While On The Field

This past month I traveled for the majority of the month, visiting various christian workers I had previously coached. Those workers are now on the field in active their respective ministry roles. In almost every conversation I had with them, they touched on the need for help connecting with their financial partners while leading very busy lives on the field.

Thus I wanted to take a little time to share on my post on this topic again and update it with a few new ideas. (If you have read the old post, this one will have a few new ideas – so please read again.)

If you are a worker already in your field of ministry – this post is for you! And now for the post:

Here’s a statistic that Bill Dillon, a guru in the support raising world and author of People Raising, has that I think you’ll find potent:

For every 100 people that stop supporting you:

66% of people stop giving because they think you don’t care about them

15% are unhappy with your organization

15% transfer their giving somewhere else

4% move away or die

Woah.

Investments that Count

When I train missionaries on how to raise their budgets I tend to stay away from the word “fundraising” for many reasons, and when I really think about it — this statistic is at the heart of all of my reasons.

No one wants to invest in something that yields no return.

If the people/church giving a christian worker funds every single month feel as though the worker could care less about their giving, they will go somewhere else with their giving dollars.

And in my opinion, they should.

Ouch! Why you ask? Because the reason donors are investing in the Great Commission is because they are called to be a vital part of the Great Commission, too. And if they are called to be a part of the Great Commission, why should they be made to feel as though their vital part is on the sidelines?

I believe that one reason we forget to invest ourselves into the relationships we have with our financial partners is because we forget (or perhaps don’t have the paradigm) that they are as vital to the work that we are doing as we (as ministers) are. (Side Note: I call “donors” by the term “partners” or “financial partners” because donors also give blood – look up the definition – you’ll be surprised)

That being said, many christian workers on financial support struggle in the area of continually connecting with their financial partners even they have a high value for their relationships with them.

It makes sense. We are all busy. Ministers are typically very busy.

As much as I understand, I also believe it isn’t a valid excuse. There are so many easy ways to connect across continents in our world. As such, I would like to offer up 10 suggestions on how ministers on financial support can continually – and easily – connect with churches and individuals who financially invest in the kingdom work they are doing.

Minister to Partner: Ways to Connect

1. The Quarterly Newsletter

Here’s a no-brainer: Send your newsletters. You should do a minimum of four a year. Keep them short, and talk more about ministry than personal things. Include pictures of active ministry and not vacation spots.

Here are two “do not’s” with newsletters:

The Vacationer Newsletter

I recently got a newsletter that made me jealous. And not in a good way. There were pictures of vacation spots all over it, making me wonder (from my desk in the middle of a rainy Missouri day) why I couldn’t go myself? I want to go to these wonderful, beautiful, far off destinations to do “ministry” instead of supporting someone else as they take these paid looking vacations; however, I know my job, and my calling is here.

Sure I knew that they were active ministers, or else I wouldn’t have started supporting them in the first place. However, there was something as I was reading that felt just a twinge off and left me wondering. Let’s not put the people that are giving us the opportunity to minister in that place of wondering. Let’s keep our newsletters active in ministry.

The Negative Newsletter

I have read a lot of newsletters over the years. And can I say one thing I see over and over again? A negative outlook. I believe I’m with the majority when I say positive newsletters win verses negative newsletters all day, every day. Sure prayer requests are important, and of course there is the need to be honest. However, the general feel of your newsletter should be one of a positive outlook and experiences. No whining. No complaining about how hard it is to raise your finances. Keep your newsletters vision based and focused.

2. The Digital Hello

When you get on the field, pick 5 – 10 financial partners each month and email them a short personal hello/touch base. For example:

“Hi Sally, just wanted to touch base with you and see how you have been doing. You and Chuck are, of course, on our prayer list and we are wondering if you have any updates or requests. Things here are going wonderful! We just finished with our building project and couldn’t be more excited to receive students this coming fall. I am really looking forward to getting back into teaching. Anyhow, hope you all are well and let us know how we can be in prayer for you.” – Jenn

See…how painful is that? It took me all of one minute to write that… You may be saying, but what happens when they write back? Then, take another minute of your day to promptly reply to those who responded to your email. If all 10 respond it will take you around 10 minutes to respond to all of the emails. Then, take the time to mention them in your prayers and follow up with that as you have time. Keep a simple notebook. Write them down. It will make all of the difference and mean so much to the people spending so much time praying for you.

Once you have gone through your 5 – 10 partners each month, circle back around your list. Put these on some sort of white board in your room or house to remind you, or put it into some sort of calendar each month. Whatever you do, calendarize it in some way.

3. The Traveling Present

Send small gifts or postcards to your financial partners. Tell them thank you for their continuing support.

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I recently received a postcard from a friend vacationing in Costa Rica. That postcard remained on my fridge for 2 months for two reasons: (1) My friend thought of me from a far off destination and it made my day getting that postcard! (2) It was beautiful! Personally, I’m a sucker for a pretty print of any far off destination.

Small gifts do not have to cost much to mean a lot.

4. Stay Active on Social Media

If you don’t already have one, create a Facebook page. Create a secret group if you are going to a sensitive country. Stay active on it while you are on the field. Pictures, prayer updates, videos and praise reports are all fantastic. *If you are somewhere sensitive keep that in mind while posting and follow the rules of your organization.

If you have the time and know-how, get onto Instagram and Twitter as well! This is not for everyone, and typically I say to start with one social media outlet and do it well. However if you have the time and know how try one or both of these. I love posting on Twitter and have a personal Instagram page as a creative outlet. Both have been effective in communicating with friends and helping me to network on a larger scale.

5. The “I’m Thinking of You” Share

Facebook message your financial partners or like their posts. Stay active on your personal page (including Twitter or other social media outlets).

Sometimes as I listen to audio sermons, worship sets, podcasts, or Scriptures, I’ll ask the Lord if He would like me to share any of those with my friends, family, or financial partners. If I feel prompted, I’ll send that sermon or verse to a friend on Facebook with a little message. These have to make sense and the sermons probably shouldn’t be overly convicting on major sins or anything. (Don’t imply that your friend has a problem). Use common sense. ie. Don’t send a message on tithing to a partner who hasn’t recently been giving.

6. The Church Letter

Write a short letter to the churches that financially partner with you. Put a note in to the pastor to please read where he feels it appropriate to the congregation (small groups, prayer groups, Sunday school).

7. The Homecoming Event

When you come back home, hold a non-fundraising event in key areas where your financial partners are. During the event provide desserts and coffee. Share stories from the field, answer any questions, tell them about your future plans, and thank them, thank them, and thank them.

These events can be as elaborate or simple as you want to make them. I would of course error on the side of taking care of your important guests by providing refreshments and some sort of dessert or snack – these also provide an incentive for your guests to come.

Recently, a ministry couple I coach held one of these type of events but made it a fundraising event (this type of event means they asked for monthly commitments from friends and family at the event. A non-fundraising event means you only ask for contact information and do not ask for commitments from your guests).

They took care to have a sign in book at the front door that collected people’s contact information as well, and they had a pastor come up and share with the guests about the value of missions and their ministry. They raised a total of $1,200 in monthly support in one night.

8. The Homecoming Coffee

In addition to the church event, when you come home set up one-on-one coffee times with pastors and friends and family that have supported you. Thank them and catch up on their lives while you were gone. Be relational and intentional.

9. The Real Time Facetime / Skype Meeting

Are you spending some time on Facetime or Skype with your far away family and friends? Why not pick 6-12 financial partners per year to Skype or Facetime while on the field? This is particularly good practice with financial partners that are giving sizable amounts or with churches and small groups that are partnering financially. Give them a real-time live update on where and how you are. Take them into an actual ministry event via skype or Facetime on your phone if you can. They will be floored at your thoughtfulness and most likely continue to financially partner you throughout assignments to come.

10. Text them!

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There are multiple programs available that will allow you to set up video and picture messaging while on the field. If you have a urgent prayer request, why not send a group text message out to your financial and prayer partners with a picture detailing your prayer need? If you have a praise report, send a text and allow them to celebrate with you (of course, keep in mind time zone differences so that you are not texting them at 2:00am)!

I personally use ReachModo for these purposes. It allows me to communicate while on the field and to set up a Text to Give option and a Text to Connect option that helps tremendously while itinerating. (Text to Give is when someone wants to start giving financially, and Text to Connect is when someone wants to sign up for prayer alerts and newsletters.) I then use the service to group text everyone on my ReachModo list. As I said above, there are numerous programs available for this type of service like Constant Contact and ReachModo. Keep in mind that you need to use a service that is secure, and check in with your organization that you are following your organizations security protocols. Check it out and you’ll be glad you did.

If you are a minister on financial support, I hope that these help you. Let’s remind our financial partners that they are important to us and to the Great Commission! Let’s keep our attrition rates up with our financial partners by spending just a little time letting them know that we care. Let’s value them! Let’s realize that they are vital part of what we do. Amen? Amen.

Want to know more about how to connect with financial partners? More practical help while raising your funds for ministry? Check out the Financial Partnership Workbook: Biblical and Practical Tools to Raise Your Support. 

How to Effectively Communicate with Your Financial Partners: ANSWERS FROM ACTUAL FINANCIAL PARTNERS

In continuation of my previous posts Hard Questions with Thoughtful Answers:  Q&A With Support Raising Geniuses, here are some “Hard Questions with Thoughtful Answers” from another perspective. The perspective of those that give. 

I hope you find these as helpful as I have! Wow. What great responses! Thank you to the pastor and individual who answered these questions. And ps. – thank you for giving to the work of the Great Commission. I hope it is said often enough to you how vital you are to the work of God. Truly, you make it possible.

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A Canonized Thank You Note

I’ve been reading the book of Philippians lately and from it I have been gaining wonderful insights the area of ministry partnership development. Don’t you love Philippians? The tone that Paul carries throughout it is so warm and kind. Full of encouragement and vulnerability, it is a book that houses one of the most famous verses in the entire bible “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” 4:13 and it carries my personal favorite very-zealous-teenage-self verse, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philip 1:21

Do you happen to know why Paul wrote the Philippians? I didn’t know until I became a ministry partnership development coach and started digging for areas of bible study on financial giving. Here’s what my New Living Translation Bible has to say about the book of Philippians:

“While under house arrest, Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians to thank some dear friends who had sent him money. In this letter he told them about a joy that does not depend upon external circumstances because it is rooted in Jesus Christ, who gives it freely. Paul began by expressing his thanks to the Philippians.”

My New King James Bible says it this way:

“Paul wrote Philippians as a thank you note to the believers of Philippi, for their help in his hour of need.”

So essentially the whole book of Philippians is an example of a canonized thank you note to supporters?!?! A CANONIZED THANK YOU NOTE!!

Before sharing some of the insights I’ve had from realizing this amazing-ness, let me back up a little and set the stage of Paul and the Philippians.

While writing the Philippians Paul was on house arrest in Rome. The Philippians sent Epharoditus with their support on a journey that took approximately a month for Epharoditus to reach Paul. That is quiet a difficult journey (Epharoditus got so sick that he almost died! 2:27, 2:30) and an investment for the Philippians.

In the midst of the Philippian church sacrificing so much; Paul was old, tired, and on house arrest.  Therefore most likely Paul was not in much need of finances at the time. Paul and the Philippians most likely had a growing relationship but were not extremely familiar with one another. In the past the Philipi church had supported him in an ongoing way (4:10, 4:15, 4:16) after Paul had only visited them on a short visit. The letter suggests they potentially had stopped their support before due to difficulties getting Paul the finances (4:10). Their newly continued financial support (and their commitment shown by sending Epharoditus) probably came as a surprise and a blessing to Paul. Something of the equivalent to Paul of a financial supporter buying you a new car.

Paul was so moved by this that he sent Epharoditus back with the letter to the Philippians. Consequently I think we can learn a lot from Paul’s thank you note to the Philippian church.

Here are 2 insights from Phillipians I trust you’ll find helpful:

1. True Vulnerability, Concern, and Friendship with Our Supporters

In Philippians we find true vulnerability from Paul as he shares his thoughts on his suffering and dying state in chapter 1. He remains venerable and honest with the Philippians throughout the book, giving the entire book a warm and encouraging tone:

“For I have told you often before, and say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.” Philippians 3:18

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” Philip 1:3

“Dear brothers and sisters, I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward of my work. So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends.” Philip 4:1

Throughout the book Paul gives us a great model of relationship to strive for with our support team: they should be the joy and reward of our work. As in, they should be true friends and partakers with us in ministry. Do we see our team as actual partners in the work we are doing? Or do we view them merely as a necessary means to an end? Do we view our relationships with our team members as our joy and reward? Are we communicating honestly, vulnerably, and with concern to our financial supporters? Are we treating them like friends?

2. Don’t Just Seek The Gift

Philippians 4:17 blows me away every time I read it:

“Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Philip 4:17

Paul isn’t merely seeking the gifts of the Philippian church as he writes the Philippians his thanks. His worldview is given away here, showing us Paul’s true motivation – and it’s not money. He is motivated by the desire to see the Philippians reward in heaven as true partakers in the Great Commission. This perspective and worldview of our support team may not be instantaneous, but I can say from experience as a coach: those ministers that seek to grasp this concept, that view their team as real partakers in the Great Commission, make the best support raisers I know. Once we stop thinking of our fundraising as a means to an end we will succeed in fundraising – as it will come secondary to enhancing the kingdom of God – which is our primary concern as ministers (and Christians!) anyhow. Are you just wanting money from your team? Are you desiring what will be credited to their account in heaven? Do you see them as partakers with you in ministry?

One of the most quoted scripture verses of all time is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” Now that I know why Paul wrote the Philippians and that he wrote it with so much concern, love, and vulnerability to his support team,  verse 14 means so much more to me:

“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Let your team share in your “troubles”. May they be an active and vital part in what you are doing. Let your heart towards them not be about money, but that they are credited in heaven for their vital part in the Great Commission. May they become your friends and truly a “support team” around you. May your relationship to your team be like Paul and the Philippians.

Learn how to do a Successful Facebook Campaign (NEW VIDEO!)

You may have already read the previous post on this subject: How to Create a Successful Facebook Campaign and Other Glorious Facebook Information.”  

With that post I want to give you the “Part 2” – with a new video explaining some of the ins and outs of creating a successful campaign. It was crafted by myself and the brilliant mind of our brand lead for Assemblies of God World Missions, Ericka Pasquale.  (thanks Ericka!)

(March 2015 video)

(NEW! May 2015 video)

If you are launching your own Facebook campaign, keep in mind that Facebook campaigns will primarily lead you to new financial partners who are referrals. The key to referral relationships is to develop them. Don’t take these new relationships for granted or assume they don’t want more involvement with you because you acquired their partnership via Facebook. I have this new quote that I love, and I think it fits nicely here:

“Your real goal isn’t about raising money. Your real goal is to raise up people and create solid, long-term relationships.” – Myles Wilson, author of Funding the Family Business

Here are some ways to develop relationships that come from your Facebook campaigns:

1. If they live near you, go grab coffee, lunch, or dinner together. Spend time getting to know them and cast vision about your ministry.

2. Reach out to them via Facebook messenger with electronic resources on your ministry, and add them to your ministry Facebook page.

3. Ask if you could connect via phone, Skype, or FaceTime with those new financial partners that live far away.

4. Send them a thank you card in the mail and/or a small gift when appropriate. Send them a e-thank you card if snail mail seems un-appropriate.

5. Start following their Facebook page. Find out what their interests are and how you can engage.

I hope these tips help you create solid, long-term partnerships with those you meet in your own Facebook campaign!

How do I ask Individuals to Support Me Monthly: 5 Take Aways

You may be asking the question, dear reader, how do I effectively ask individuals to support me monthly? The answer to that question has a lot of moving parts, and as I begin this blog I want to continually answer that question through the posts that I write. To start with a simple answer, it is this:

AS RELATIONALLY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.

I want to reinforce this sentence by telling you about the journeys of two different missionaries whom I coach. Both recently raised their finances in record time. Let me tell you a little about them:

The Jones Family. The Jones Family is a family of four who raised their extensive overseas budget within 6 months. SIX MONTHS! Let me tell you, that is a feat for a family of four! 

Sally. Sally is a single woman, and a 21 year old college grad. Sally raised her budget within 5 months. She had never raised finances for a missions trip before, and particularly felt nervous that most of her friends were just out of college – and broke.

How did the Jones family and Sally do it? Well, the main successful commonality between them is this: they were always relational in their approach. So here are some things we can learn from The Jones family and Sally in their journeys  to raising their budgets relationally and successfully:

1. They set weekly goals and stuck to them. When raising your finances, knowing your vision is valuable and so is determination. Both the Jones family and Sally set weekly goals (that were obtainable) for themselves based on their vision and held onto those goals with determination. They hit their goals 90% of the time.

Take away: As you raise your finances, set weekly goals for yourself and find a way to make yourself accountable to them. Before you do, think about what you can handle each week and when you want to get to 100% before you set them. Typically I tell missionaries I coach that they need to make initial contact with at least 5-10 people each week – initial contact entails that they have either sent an invitation letter (setting up the face-to-face appointment) or they called someone asking for a face-to-face appointment.

2. They didn’t take short cuts. They met face-to-face with people. The Jones family and Sally both strived for each “ask” to be face-to-face, even if that meant traveling a little to see people and ask them in person. They didn’t merely call people, send out bulk newsletters, or Facebook blasts – they took time to ask people in the most relational way possible.

Take away: I’m not saying Facebook posts or newsletters are bad things. Both are effective tools when used accurately. However, those tools become detriments when missionaries try to make them the main way they do their personal asks. Whenever possible, try to meet with your potential partners face-to-face. If it’s not possible face-to-face, try meeting with them over Skype or Google Hangouts. When you ask, have a well thought out presentation and concretely ask for financial support.

3. They asked for a range or specific amount. When the Jones family and Sally did their financial asks they boldly asked for a range of monthly support or a specific amount.

Take away: Don’t leave your financial needs nebulous and in the hands of your potential partners to guess. That’s awkward for them. Tell them what you need and provide them with parameters. A couple of reasons for this: (1) It will greatly help your friends and family to know what you need, particularly if they aren’t used to giving to missions. (2) People will default to the least amount possible, so you want to ask them for an amount that stirs their faith.

If you are asking for a range make your range comfortable for you to ask for, but also not too low. Also when providing a range make a graph
to explain if necessary. When asking for a specific amount, make sure to stay silent while they respond to what you just asked them. You don’t need to apologize or provide nervous “filler.”

Fundraising Pyramid Image[1]

4. They believed they were asking their potential partners to invest in the Great Commission, not just their ministry assignment. Perspective in raising support is a powerful thing, if not one of the most important ingredients to success (or lack there of). Sally and the Jones Family believed that when they asked their friends and family for financial support, they were involving them in more than just their need for money. They were involving them in the Great Commission and thus were not apologetic about it.

Take away: If you aren’t at that point in your thinking / perspective you, you are not alone. But I do challenge you to ask God to change your perspective. Spend time in the word and seek understanding on support raising in the Bible. There are over 700 direct statements in the Bible about finances, find some of them and study. As you read ask yourself why God set up the Christian worker to live off of support, and why He wants you to do it as well. (Some places in the Bible to start reading: Philippians, Nehemiah, 2 Kings 4, and 1 Corinthians 16 or check out my workbook and buy a complete Bible study on fund-raising.)

5. They didn’t stop when it got challenging. Both the Jones Family and Sally were both hesitant to begin the process of raising their support. They also both had real fears and genuine obstacles, just like you probably do. Even though they were hesitant and ran into hard weeks while raising their budgets: they kept going and continued to ask.

Take away: Don’t let fear, a bad week, obstacles, or a “no” keep you from asking. Remember, when you invite people onto your team in a relational way, really you are asking them to get more involved in the Great Commission. When you run into a hard week (and you will, I promise you are not alone) just keep going and continually ask God for help along the way. He will provide what you need if you keep moving forward — but the key is you have to keep moving forward.

So as you look over these 5 take aways think about how you can invest and create your team relationally. As you do, you’ll find yourself growing in ministry and more happily (and quickly) raising your support.

What do you think as you hear The Jones Family and Sally’s stories? How can you raise your finances as relationally as possible?

8 Ways to Grow Your Relationships with Financial Partners

Last week I was privileged to write a guest post for Eurasia Northwest on 8 Ways to Grow Your Relationships with Partners. Take a moment and check it out!Missionaries_Losing_Supporters