Blog and Website Recommendations On Support Raising

I love picking up bits and pieces from other ministries on support raising. Over the years I’ve done my fair share of digging from various viewpoints – nonprofits, ministries, and other missions sending organizations.

Thus, here’s a list of 15 inspiring blogs and websites that cover a wide variety of subject matter on ministry partnership development.

  1. Cadre 31 Classes: Cadre31 is a company who specializes in telling your story via video. They have a tab on their website dedicated to education on creating your own videos, watch and learn!
  2. Anything from Support Raising Solutions, but I particularly love this one tackling the fear of being a beggar.
  3. This testimony from some workers that I coach remains one of my absolute favorites over the years. I love what God does to meet us when we move in faith, prayer, and fasting.
  4. TedTalk by Jia Jiang on facing rejection. The possibility of rejection and/or facing it is hard – this video on the subject is incredibly inspiring and entertaining.
  5. Video from Global Frontier Missions on Unreached People Groups. This video is so helpful if your assignment is to UPGS. Check the links out to other videos from the same organization that tackle other subjects as well. They are awesome!
  6. Seeing Your Donors As Partners by 101Fundraising maybe one of my favorite blog posts EVER on the subject of financial giving. Get inspired and get perspective.
  7. This guest post by Pastor Chris (on my blog) reminds us that a season of itineration looks a lot like a season on the ministry field. I highly recommend this to anyone struggling with obstacles and fears in raising their support.
  8. Thanking Donors on Social Media from The Balance is a great for those looking to make their social media interactions count. It has some fantastic ideas to get the gears going on your own social media strategy.
  9. This TedTalk from Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking may be the most helpful TedTalk I’ve ever watched. This is not Christian content by the way, but gives incredible insight.
  10. Loving all of Scott Morton’s blog, author of the essential book Funding Your Ministry.
  11. Do you want to become a better public speaker? Are you afraid of public speaking? Here’s a post from RealSimple on conquering your fear.
  12. Being negative hurts YOU. Are you negative and don’t even know it? Check out this blog post on positive thinking during your season of raising support by Michael Hyatt.
  13. Are you an introvert? Feeling warn down by all of the awesome but energy draining coffee dates? Check out Support Raising as an Introvert, by the Karani blog.
  14. Reaching out to millennials can confound as you support raise. Gosh, I’m a millennial and sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what to do. Here’s a great post on the subject.
  15. Stories are compelling. Here’s a reminder to share that story of a life changed or your own testimony in presentations.

I hope some of these posts help you like they have me. Do you have a favorite blog, post, or website on support raising? Share it in the comments! – JF

 

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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The Facebook Campaign

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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

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

Facebook Campaign 

 

 

 

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.

Using Texting As a Tool In The Support Raising Process (re-post from SupportRaisingSolutions.org)

This post comes from the wonderful people of www.supportraisingsolutions.org and the brain of Aaron Babyar, a friend and fellow partnership development coach. (Have you ever read The God Ask? You should!) Aaron and I on numerous occasions have conversed on coaching, support raising, and how we can better train workers how to biblically support raise. We have dialogued specifically about texting vs. calling, and when I read this post on text messages to potential partners I was beyond thankful for the brilliant explanation that Aaron gives to how texting can be helpful and harmful in the support raising process. This is an issue I regularly see workers struggle with, so I felt it definitely needed reposting here at jennfortner.com. I love Aaron’s sample texts – I think they are great templates to use as you develop your own language on financial partnership. Thank you Aaron and the SupportRaisingSolutions.org team! – JF

Using Texting As A Tool In The Support Raising Process – from supportraisingsolutions.org/blog/

“Hey (potential ministry partner), I am excited about my new role with XYZ ministry! I’d love to get together with you soon to share my vision, budget goals, and how God is using this ministry to change lives. Could we maybe grab coffee next Thursday morning?”

You hit send on your well-crafted text and wait for their reply.

Crickets.

Although texting seems to be a preferred method of communication these days, the majority of successful support raisers I have spoken with tend to avoid using texts to set appointments because of a high failure rate. There are a number of reasons for this, including a reality that some people might see the word “finances” or “budget” and quickly dismiss your appointment request without ever replying. When trying to secure an appointment, it is more personal and interactive to do so verbally, whether over the phone or face-to-face. Filling your appointment calendar by shooting out some texts certainly sounds appealing, but unfortunately text messaging in this stage of support raising often doesn’t work so well. You could literally communicate this very message to someone verbally and likely get a better response than sending a text message using the exact same words!

A helpful exercise might be to think of all forms of communication as tools in your toolbox. Not every tool is going to be the best instrument for every job. For instance, it’s unlikely you will ever need a sledgehammer when repairing your computer (though you might feel like you want to use one sometimes)! But if you want to break up concrete, you will want that sledgehammer and not a rubber mallet. When trying to set up an initial appointment, texting seems to act like a sledgehammer being used on the wrong job; however, that doesn’t mean you should never use that tool. Here are at least 3 other occasions when texting might be the right tool for the job.

1. Setting up an “appointment request phone call”

I’ve had times when people simply don’t answer their phone or return calls despite two or three attempts at calling. Maybe I even left a short voicemail or two in which I didn’t mention money, but they still aren’t replying. At this point, my new go-to method is to send a short text like this: “Hey John, this is Aaron Babyar. Sorry I keep missing you. Is there a better time to talk later today? Or perhaps is now a good time to talk?” Some people respond by calling me immediately. Many others eventually reply, which jump starts further communication. Note that I ended my simple text with a question or two. That might be partially why some are compelled to finally respond.

2. Confirming the appointment

I like to send a statement message 12-24 hours before a planned get together. For instance, “Jeff, I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. at Kennedy Coffee.” This serves to help them remember our commitment to meet, and if perchance they have also scheduled something else during that time and accidentally forgotten about me, it also allows them time to rearrange their calendar. Meanwhile, it saves me from drinking coffee all alone, again, because I forgot to confirm…again!

3. Post-invitation follow up confirmation

When someone gives a “maybe” answer to potentially join my team, I’m careful to set a follow-up expectation during the meeting by saying something like, “Great. Sounds like we agree that we can follow up this Saturday. I will be praying for God to lead you and your husband as you process this potential partnership in the gospel.” Meanwhile I want to be praying for them, and I always send a recent newsletter as they are hopefully moving towards making a clearer decision.
Increasingly though, I have begun to send a text the day before our follow-up that looks something like this, “Sarah, thanks again for prayerfully considering joining my support team. We had discussed clarifying your decision by tomorrow. Let’s plan to touch base in the early afternoon.” I’ve had a variety of replies to statements like this: from people who have already decided “no” who text me their decision on the spot, to people who ask if we can wait one more day, to people who have already decided “yes” that respond, “Great. We are in for $150 a month. Talk to you tomorrow, and maybe you can tell us how to set that up.”

Sometimes, sending a text message is the perfect tool for the job. Be sure to know when to use it, when not to, and when to search through your toolbox for a different form of communication.

10 Easy Ways To Connect With Financial Partners

 

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.

When I train missionaries on how to raise their support 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. Basically,  No one wants to invest in something that yields no return. If an individual gives a worker monthly support and feels as though the worker could care less about their giving, they will likely 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 and forgotten?

I believe that one reason we forget to invest in 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. 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. I totally get it.

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 workers on financial support can continually, quickly, and easily connect with churches and individuals who financially invest in the kingdom work they are doing.

10 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 way more about ministry than personal things. Include pictures of active ministry (no vacation spots).

2. Short Email or Letter

When you get on the field, pick 10-15 financial partners each month and email them a QUICK and 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 on our prayer list for this month 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. There will be 10! We will definitely be busy with it but we are pumped! I am also 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 two minutes to write that… You may be saying, but what happens when they write back? If they do, 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 15-20 minutes to respond to everyone. Then, take the time to mention them in your prayers and follow up with that as you have time and God leads. 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 10-15 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 a calendar each month. Whatever you do, calendarize it in some way.

3. Postcards and Presents

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, short videos, scripture verses, and praise reports are all fantastic. *If you are somewhere sensitive keep that in mind while posting and follow the rules of your organization.
  • Consider getting onto Instagram and Twitter as well! This is not for everyone, and typically I say to start with one social media outlet (probably Facebook) 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.
  • Another great thing to think about doing in your secret Facebook groups or if you have a ministry page is a Facebook Live. If you choose tdownloado do one before hand promote the time your event will be taking place, and take care to choose a time that works well for your financial partners. When you do a Facebook Live event, make it a guided Q&A and consider doing your Facebook Live in an interesting place. That Facebook Live will record as a video so anyone not able to make the time can view later!
  • Facebook message your financial partners or like their posts. Stay active on your personal page (including Twitter or other social media outlets).

5. I’m Thinking Of You

Sometimes as I listen to audio sermons, worship sets, podcasts, or scriptures, I’ll check in with God and ask 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 or Video

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). Make-your-own-Video-1080x675If you don’t have time for a letter, create a quick video on your smart phone or computer and email it to the pastor. Ask the pastor to share that with his congregation or prayer group if possible.

7. Events

When you come back home, hold an 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.

Create connect cards for those interested in giving for the first time.

8. Face to Face

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. Really, this shouldn’t be optional!

9. FaceTime / Skype Meetings

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)!

In Closing

If you are a worker on financial support, I hope that these simple ideas to connect with your partnership base 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.

9 Common Mistakes in Raising Support

Below are some common mistakes I see ministry workers make while raising their funds. If some of these mistakes look too familiar to you, don’t fret! My hope is that by mentioning them you are able to move forward and are helped, not discouraged.

1. Follow Up Fails: Not setting expectations for follow up during a face to face appointment.

This is probably the most common of all mistakes I see as a coach. Though it’s best to have a new financial partner sign up for giving during a appointment, many financial partners need time after an appointment to sign up. The problem with a delayed giving start is that it puts the ball in the court of the financial partner, not yours. Often times, your new financial partner will absolutely plan on giving but drag his or her feet in turning in the commitment. Reasons as to why range as wide as there are different personalities of people. However when they intend to give (I call these “verbal commitments”), you as a ministry worker must have a plan for getting verbal commitments turned in! The first place that plan should begin is during the appointment, by setting expectations of exactly when and how you will follow up anyone who has said that they would like to give but doesn’t give during the appointment. Read more on how to turn verbal commitments into written ones here.

2. Relying On The Newsletter: Not going beyond the newsletter in communication, especially once on assignment.

If you use the words “team” to describe the people who give regularly to your ministry – treat your team as an actual team! Involve them in your ministry by reaching beyond the newsletter in your communication to them with personal texts, small gifts, personal emails and/or social media messages, etc. Your team should not only be hearing from you on a macro level, put on a personal one as well.

3. The Drawn Out Newsletter: Making newsletters too lengthy.

Newsletters do not need to be long to be helpful or informative. Quite the opposite is true. Think about it from your own personal experience as a giver…do you read 2,3,4 page newsletters? My guess is probably not, unless you are skim reading or interested beyond your average financial partner. Thus, create newsletters that are effective yet short. Include essential ministry information, bullet points of prayer requests, a few pictures from the field (or if your raising your support and sending out a newsletter – include an infographic of what percentage you are at in raising your budget), and a heartfelt thank you. Make your newsletter it interesting, pleasing to the eye, and brief. Then, take to heart the above common mistake #2 and spend some time connecting with your team personally.

4. Shirking Responsibility: Not putting the ball in their court when leaving voicemails.

The ball is in your court when you have control and responsibility in a situation. In phone calls taking the responsibility to connect is up to you, not to your potential partner. When calling a potential partner to ask for a face to face appointment, from time to time you will have to leave a voicemail. A common mistake I have seen is in when leaving voicemails, ministry workers ask the financial partner to call them back instead of telling them that they will try to reach out to them again. That’s a no as the responsibility should be on you. Your voicemail should go something like this: “Hi Don, I’m calling in reference to the letter I sent a couple of weeks ago. I’d love to connect for a few short moments on the phone and don’t want to take too much of your time. I’ll try to reach out again tomorrow evening and see if that time works better – but if you get a moment between now and then to call please do so. Talk soon!”

5. The Too Soon Newsletter Announcement: As soon as the worker is approved, they send out a massive newsletter to everyone they know asking for finances and announce on social media that they need support.

When you know the direction God has placed on your life and have taken the next step in acting upon it, you get excited right? I think most of the time the excitement is where this particular common mistake comes from, and it’s understandable. However, the best way to make an ask for financial support is always going to done relationally, and the best way to do that is to meet with someone in person to ask. For the most part, newsletters should be reserved for people who have already joined some aspect of your team or have said they would like to receive your newsletter. Newsletters are not for the general masses. Social media announcements should be limited to information and for the most part, not asks for financial support (unless doing a strategic one time Facebook Campaign).

6. Social Media Is EVERYTHING: Over utilizing / emphasizing social media.

There are social media directors for businesses these days, conferences on social media, and how to’s on fundraising concerning social media. Good! Let’s learn all about it. Personally, I love social media and think it is an extremely helpful resource. HOWEVER…I do believe it is often over emphasized. Some workers raising support decide to make it the end-all- be-all of support raising, and I believe that can be a mistake. No matter how helpful creating a excellent social media presence can be, it will never take the place of meeting with someone in personally and relationally. A post is not a personal postcard. A “like” is not a text saying hello. A instant message is not a coffee date. Thus, I say work to create a strong social media presence and stick with it when you get into your assignment. However, as I mentioned above save asks (with some few circumstances – check out here and here) for personal appointments.

7. Nervous Asking: Beating around the bush during an ask and/or making qualifiers after asking.

After asking for a monthly support amount, the next person who talks should be the potential partner. NOT YOU. It’s tempting to create qualifiers to save awkwardness but typically they do not help, only hinder, your ask. Make your asks clear, bold, and to the point. Don’t beat around the bush and leave the potential partner wondering what you really want. Confidence will come across not as pushy, but respectful. Often times tentative and timid words will come across as you being uncertain of your calling, less passionate, and less confident. Choose boldness and clarity over timidity.

8. Billboard Texts: Asking for an appointment on text or social media instead of calling.

It can be tempting to skip the phone call and choose instead to ask someone for an appointment on text or on Facebook Messenger. I get it, texting is a bit more normative than calling someone on the phone these days. However, text doesn’t take the place of being able to explain something in detail verbally. Thus, consider sending a quick text to someone before calling that reads something along the lines of “Hey, Don. Wondering if I could give you a quick call to discuss something. Don’t want to take but a few minutes of your time.” or “Hey Don, can I give you a call real quick?“. When you give too many details on a text or Facebook Message typically any explanation of the need for support reads like a billboard. Text with an ask for financial support or an appointment can also get buried because the person is dealing with their own day and life and busyness. Stick to calling people first, then move to another mode of communication if you absolutely have to after multiple attempts at the phone call.

9. Accidentally Asking On Social Media: Not getting contact information properly or giving too much information when asking for contact information.

Sometimes ministry workers I coach begin sending out invitation letters to their potential supporters before they have a phone number to reach the potential partner afterward.  Invitation letters are to set up a phone call asking for a appointment. So without the number how is one supposed to call and ask for a appointment? Oops. Don’t send an invitation letter until you have all of your potential partner’s contact information.

Oftentimes ministry workers I coach make the mistake of giving too much information when asking for contact information from a potential partner. Say a worker Facebook Messages a potential partner because they need their phone number, email, and snail mail address. A good way to ask on Messenger for contact information is to say: “Hi Jill! Hope you are doing well. Could you give me your phone number, email, and snail mail address? I’d like to send you some information on a upcoming ministry assignment my husband and I are doing.” 

A bad way is to give too much information, thus leaving the potential partner with almost what looks like an ask on social media instead of in person. Here’s an example of a bad way: “Hi Jill! Hope you are doing well. My husband and I are going on an assignment to India for two years and hope to go this coming June once we raise 100% of our financial budget. Can I get your phone number, email, and snail mail address so that I can give you information on how to join us in some aspect of our ministry as we go overseas? Thanks so much Jill – look forward to hearing from you.” 

Though the language is good enough, this is way TOO MUCH INFORMATION to give up front when simply asking for contact info. When asking for contact information don’t pull the wool over their eyes but don’t ask for support either – save that for the relational face to face appointment.

I hope seeing these common mistakes will help you not make the same mistakes yourself. Did you make one of these mistakes? Perhaps you made another type of mistake? Post it in the comments and help others learn from you!