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!
Quick post here of resources I find helpful in the support raising process. Merry Christmas everyone! – JF
- A Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen
- Dunham & Company
- iMissionsPro, TNTMPD, MPDX, DonorElf, SupportGoal
- Funding Your Ministry by Scott Morton
- The Phone Call Mind Map
- Commission Creative
- Support Raising Solutions, The God Ask
- 101 Fundraising
- Portent’s Content Generator
This will be a quick post on sharing your budget with friends and family members. Here’s what I have to say: don’t!
Okay just kidding. Kind of.
There will be times it’s appropriate to share your specific budget figures with friends and family, but most of the time it’s best to speak in percentages. Less is always more, unless someone asks for specific numbers.
Why you ask? Let’s explore one major reason.
It is possible if you share your specific budget details, the person with whom you are sharing the information will make uninformed judgments on your lifestyle in ministry. Let’s use an example to illustrate. Say you are fresh out of college and share with a potential partner who is also fresh out of college that your budget to go overseas is $3,500 in monthly support for two years and a cash budget of $30,000. That’s reasonable right? Well lets say that peer is struggling to find a job and could only dream of making that much money each month. When you share this information quickly with them in a face to face appointment, they don’t have the ability to see what goes into that $3,500 per month and $30,000 in cash (overseas insurance, cost of living is higher due to the country you are going to, language learning school, etc.). To them your budget merely seems extravagant in the wake of their own circumstances. In contrast, an overprotective family member may do some mental math on your behalf and evaluate that you aren’t making enough for those two years.
All of that to say, if you share your budget details off the cuff in your presentations, newsletters, etc., people are simply prone to make judgements they are not qualified to make.
So what is the solution? Talk in percentages! Change the sentence from “I need $3,500 in monthly support and $30,000 in cash” to this: “In order to go over seas I need to raise 100% of my budget. Would you be willing to partner with me at $100 a month?“
BONUS: Did you notice in the sentence above I also did NOT mention my need for cash gifts? That is strategic as well, as typically it is much harder to raise monthly support than it is one-time / special gifts. Potential partners (and people in general) tend to default to the least amount of commitment possible, and if you are giving the people an option during your face-to-face appointments to give one time they will take you up on it! This will leave you with less in monthly commitments. Your partners will be patting themselves on the back because they gave, and you leaving disappointed that you didn’t get a new monthly partner.
So as a rule when making the ask: stick to percentages and ask for monthly support alone.
Now, I realize you may be asking if there are exceptions to this rule? Of course there are. Responses to “asks” are as varied as there are people, and here are some examples of when to deviate:
- If you are talking to a pastor about church support, go ahead and share the specifics of your budget straight away. Pastors are different than individuals, as they tend to know more about the landscape of needs involved in ministry. Typically it’s helpful for them to have specific information on your budget, so share away!
- If an individual asks what your budget is, go ahead and share. I would advise you to have something written up for this scenario that shows some of the line items in your budget to make it understandable for those who ask.
- If someone cannot commit to giving monthly support, then ask if they would like to give a special / one-time gift. True it is far better to ask someone for monthly support, but if they can’t commit – definitely explain they can give to your cash budget / give a special gift.
- If you are sharing a specific goal on a Facebook campaign or special post on social media, it is okay to share a line item in your budget. For instance, a couple I coach for #GivingTuesday recently challenged their friends on Facebook to help them raise $1,000 toward their budget on Giving Tuesday. They shared in their videos and posts that the $1,000 would go toward their language learning costs specifically. They didn’t share the entirety of their budget, but they did project a specific need out of their budget with their audience.
I hope this helps in your communications of your specific budget. You don’t have to share all of the details to ask and to keep people informed! Have any thoughts on the subject? Share them in the comments!
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!
We (Assemblies of God Mobilization + myself) decided the older videos on the Facebook Campaign needed a bit of a face lift as we have learned a few things in the past two years. Thus, here’s a new video for you!
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:
I hope this video and post helps. As we come up into Giving Tuesday and End of the Year 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
Did you know that last year 31% of ALL GIVING in the States occurred in the month of December? Or to put it this way, did you know that 12% of giving occurred in the last three days of the year?
That’s right. 12% all in 3 days.
Did you know that twenty-five to thirty percent of ALL DONATIONS come in at the end of the year (November and December). Thus begs the question: Do you have a end of the year strategy for financial partnership development? If the answer is no, or you were even tempted to coast in November and December and simply eat Christmas cookies, Christmas shop, and watch Elf and/or the new Star Wars movie 6 times in one week… I plead with you to keep those percentages in mind and reach higher. Why? Because people are going to give – and they want to give to someone they know. Thus you may want to figure out how that giving can be to you and your ministry cause.
Here are a couple of ideas for your year end strategy:
1. SEND OUT A REGULAR NEWSLETTER at the beginning of November, even if you have done one recently.
- Keep it to 1 page – be brief.
- Keep it ministry focused with specific stories.
- Say thank you.
- Don’t do any asks on this newsletter.
2. CREATE A CHRISTMAS / END OF YEAR LETTER Sometime before December 31st (think about sticking it in the mail the day after Thanksgiving) send out a end of year letter to your existing financial and prayer partner list.
Include the following components:
- Merry Christmas greeting.
- Express your authentic thankfulness for your support team. Emphasize and focus your letter on the impact your partners are having.
- Percentage update of where you are at raising your funds.
- A gift-wrappy-Christmasy-wonderful-snowy graphic that has your organization’s giving website / ways to give. (Make it pretty – I made the one below in 5 minutes using Canva.com)
- An actual ask in the letter for finances (yep, this is the only time of year I say go for it on a letter!). Consider making it about one story of a life changed or need.
- Do a nice handwritten PS.
Tips for end of year letter:
- Switch this up from a regular newsletter. Use a slightly different template than a regular newsletter and maybe make it more like a letter.
- Don’t send an ask end of year letter to anyone who recently (probavly within the past 2 months) started giving (or gave 1 time) or recently increased their giving. Maybe just send them Christmas cards instead. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too many asks.
- Consider creating a different version of your end of year letter maybe those who haven’t started giving yet or didn’t give when asked. Change particulars as needed for the audience.
- Perhaps for people who have said that they can’t give – give them a soft opportunity to give but change the thankfulness for being on your support team and instead thank them for their prayers and involvement in your life.
- For those you haven’t yet met with, change the particulars to reflect your desire to meet with them soon and thank them for the involvement in your life. You may want to include a soft ask but not as bold as to those you send it to who you’ve already met with.
- Snail mail your end of year letter.
- Keep it to 1 page make it look really nice!
3. HAVE AS MANY FACE-TO-FACE APPOINTMENTS AS POSSIBLE NOW. Are you are tempted to put the breaks on contacting individuals for face-to-face appointments? Particularly in November and December? Let me tell you, experience has taught me that it can be a GREAT time for face-to-face appointments. Don’t stop reaching out to connect with people over coffee and making the ask. Some tips:
- Pay for their coffee.
- Get a small gift for your potential financial partner and bring it to your appointment.
- Try and set up the appointment sooner than later. If they cant meet before the end of the year, put something in the calendar for January. Allow a couple of extra weeks to put something on the calendar.
- Make it about them when you meet as much as it is about you. Ask questions and get excited about who they are.
- Send a thank you card within 48 hours after you meet – regardless of responses!
- If you cannot reach someone toward the holidays, don’t sweat it. Try reaching out to them again in January.
4. SEND YOUR FINANCIAL PARTNERS / PRAYER PARTNERS CHRISTMAS CARDS / SMALL GIFTS. December is a great time of year to express your thankfulness to your support team. Go above and beyond that newsletter! Either send a Christmas card after your newsletter or perhaps with it. Christmas cards should be handwritten and possibly include a small gift of thanks. It can go a long way in letting your financial partners know you care about them.
5. CREATE A FACEBOOK CAMPAIGN IN NOVEMBER OR DECEMBER. A well crafted, intentional, relational Facebook campaign can be helpful during these months of giving. Keep in mind, this is only if you have gotten far enough in your financial partnership (75-80%) to start one.
6. SEND OUT AN EMAIL ON DECEMBER 29th or 30th. Include the following.
- Greeting of happy new year for your partners
- Remind them of your ministry as they execute their giving.
- Use that christmasy-graphic and update it to be new-years-y with a clickable link on giving online.
- Don’t include a formal ask. Just thank yous and the graphic on how to give online.
7. DUST OFF YOUR CONTACT LIST AND TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT IT. Now is a good time to go back to the beginning of your season of itineration. Dust off that old initial contact list and go through it with a fine comb. As you comb through it create a new list of those you were not able to get ahold of, those who have committed to give but haven’t started yet, and those you never asked because you got too scared (whhaaatt you say?! How did she know that?!), and those that you just simply have yet to ask. Take that list and get back to contacting them about joining your team. BONUS POINTS: As you go through your list text / email / Facebook message those that are highlighted to you and just say hi.
I hope you find these ideas helpful in building your strategy! – JF
I recently listened to this Eurasia Conversations podcast episode that I just had to share with you.
The podcast is short, but all 10 minutes pack a powerful message on how to practically appreciate financial partners. Omar Beiler, Regional Director of Eurasia speaks to our attitude and perspective by bringing up a powerful question — are we making people feel stronger or weaker in our interactions with them?
Here’s one of my favorite lines from the podcast:
“We are servants of Jesus. I don’t have a right to expect support from a church, but I think I have an OBLIGATION to ASK because the task is bigger than me.” – Omar Beiler
Take 10 minutes and listen! I bet you’ll be a better support raiser for it. Here’s the link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9URJrTqAYt0aEdJOElyLVdZOGs
If you find yourself daunted by beginning a email newsletter to your partnership team, you are not alone. I get numerous questions from workers wondering how to best set up snail mail and email newsletters.
One of the most popular services for electronic newsletters is Mailchimp. Mailchimp is a free online e-newsletter creator. Though Mailchimp is relatively easy to use, it does come with a learning curve even for more the more computer experienced of us out there. It uses language like “Campaigns” “Segments” and “Subscribers” that isn’t cut and dry for everyone. Thus, this post is a I-don’t-speak-Mailchimp step by step guide to sending your first e-newsletter. Keep in mind this post is for the beginners out there – I see you! Here we go friends.
Step 1: Get onto Mailchimp. If you haven’t already, create a username and password and login into Mailchimp.
Step 2: When you set up your account – click “Subscribe to Getting Started.” If you click this handy feature, Mailchimp will send you emails that will be helpful in creating future newsletters (in Mailchimp lingo these are called “Campaigns”).
Step 3: Build your List of people to send e-newsletters to.
A. Click “Lists”B. After clicking on Lists, click “Create List”.C. Fill in the List’s name, what email address you’ll be sending this from, your name, and other information needed.
D. Next, Mailchimp will pop up a screen that says “You have no contacts” and give you a choice to either “Import your subscribers” or “Create a signup form” to get started. Unless you have a blog you want to create a sign up form to get subscribers from – you will either want to import your contacts or click “Add contacts” (see screen shot below) and add them one by one manually.
Some people (like myself!) like to add them manually so there aren’t any glitches in the process of getting them from one program to another – but it does take time. So choose what works best for you. ** If you do choose to import your contact list typically you’d either do so by .csv files (this is good if you keep your contacts organized on your computer using a program such as “Contacts” for Macs or “Address Book” for PCs) or by copy and pasting from a file (for instance from Excel). Either way you may have some cleaning up of your files to do, so be patient! E. When you are done importing or manually adding the subscribers to your List, you are ready to move onto Creating Your Campaign!
Step 4: Create Your Campaign!
A. Start creating your campaign by clicking in the upper left hand corner “Campaign”.
B. If you have a new account, Mailchimp will take you to the screen below that says “What do you want to create?”. Choose “Create an Email”. (If you have an existing account click “Create Campaign” on the upper right corner of Mailchimp’s screen first, then the screen will ask “What do you want to create?” choose “Create an Email”.)
C. Choose “Regular” for your email type. Choose a campaign name, then click “Next” at the bottom right of your screen.
D. Choose the List you are sending your Campaign to. This should be the List you just made in Step 3. Then, click “Next” on the bottom right of your screen.
E. Fill in your Campaign Info. Make sure when filling this out to chick “Personalize the To Field” so your subscribers get emails addressed to them personally. When you are finished click “Next” on the bottom right of your screen.F. Now it’s time to select a Template. There are a lot of pre-made templates out there that are great! If you’d like to go the easy route click “Themes” and explore until you find one that works for you. If you want to choose a Layout and build the template yourself go for it! Simply click “Layout” and choose the one that works best for you. You’ll spend some time custom making your Template by choosing design and content elements. (Mailchimp also has a couple of helpful links in the Layout feature that will help you get started). G. Now that you’ve chosen and designed your Template, it’s time to actually put together your newsletter. When you create your newsletter, you can choose to add some of the elements on the left side as you wish (such as additional text, images, graphs, etc.). To do so simply drag and drop where you want the element to the right side of your screen onto your existing Template.H. When you are done creating your newsletter and carefully writing your text, I recommend previewing your Campaign and sending a test email to yourself first – so you can make 100% sure your e-newsletter is awesome!Step 5: Send Your Campaign and Your DONE!
Now that your done – click “Send”. You have successfully sent your first e-newsletter using Mailchimp. Congrats!
I hope this tutorial is a help to those who don’t speak Mailchimp. Godspeed and good luck my friends, and may your future e-newsletters be awesome.
If you want more information on how what content to include in your newsletter, go to this previous post I did on the subject.
*Mailchimp will NOT create a PDF version of any Campaigns you create, so you CANNOT send snail mail newsletters using Mailchimp. My suggestion is to use a service like Mailchimp for e-newsletters and create a snail mail newsletter in another program – and make them similarly branded and cohesive.
I previously posted this blog post back in November of 2015. So just as a disclaimer, I am re-posting this blog. I am doing so though because I think the subject of facing rejection is really important to talk about. For many of you that fear is all too real! So for those of you who have been a reader for as long as November of 2015, sorry for being redundant! Maybe you should read it any way though? It’s been awhile right?! For those of you who haven’t read it – I think you’ll find this post very helpful. Enjoy! – JF
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.
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.
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!