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 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
Here’s a common scenario I’m sure you’ve faced:
You call a potential partner multiple times hoping to get a face-to-face appointment, but you just cant seem to get them on the phone. You’ve called different times of the day but it’s just not working. Your frustrated and you’ve reached a level of voicemails that seems too close to stalker mode to try again.
How do you proceed? When is it time to switch means of communication and try to reach them another way? When is it time to stop trying to connect all together? Below is some advice I hope you find helpful!
VOICEMAILS AND INITAL CALLS
To begin, if you are reaching out to a prospective partner for the first time via phone and you reach their voicemail, my advice is to hang up without leaving a voice mail. This gives you the ability to call back again within a day or two without need for explanation.
If you call the 2nd time and don’t reach them, leave a voicemail and communicate the following:
- If you sent an invitation letter first, tell them that you were calling in reference to the invitation letter you sent them a week ago and would love to connect with them further. If you are calling without prior context (no letter), communicate that you are wanting to talk briefly with no explanation.
- When communicating don’t give too much information on the phone or on voicemail – make it brief!
- Tell them that YOU will be calling them back at another time and hope to reach them. Also mention that they can call you back. This gives you the ability to call them again without feeling awkward or demanding and puts the ball in your court. (you always want the ball in your court!)
Here’s what my voicemail may say to someone I want to invite if I haven’t sent them a letter:
“Hi Julie, this is Jenn. Hope you are doing well. Hey I was wanting to talk briefly. I may call you back later, but if you have a second please call me back first.”
Here’s a voicemail to someone I have sent a letter to first:
“Hi Julie, this is Jenn. Hope you are well. Hey wanting to talk briefly in reference to that letter I sent. I’ll give you a call back, but if you have a second please call me back first. Thanks!”
If you feel more comfortable texting rather than calling, consider sending someone a text before you call them. In the text ask if it would be a good time to call and that you’d like to speak with them briefly. Don’t skip ahead and ask for an appointment on a text…
I know, texts seem so much easier than phone calls. So why do I (and other financial partnership coaches out there) advise not texting for appointments? One major reason is it’s harder to say no to someone when they are asking for something verbally. Reading a text or Facebook Message can be forgotten unintentionally, easily be ignored, or conveniently ignored (let the reader understand). Right? Right. Phone calls are also more relational than texts. They often come across as more genuine, confident, and professional. And lastly, phone calls give you more of an opportunity to explain why you are calling and share more smoothly why you want to meet. If you share in a text that you are wanting to talk about financial support, it will likely read like a billboard (as my friend at Support Raising Solutions Aaron Babyar says). If you say it in a conversation, it seems much more palatable. So call people. I know you don’t like it. But do it.
HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD I CALL BEFORE I QUIT?
Don’t give up too early, but don’t move into stalking mode either! Neither are good! How often do you call? And when do you throw in the towel? Here’s my advice:
- Typically, go 2-3 times beyond what you are comfortable with in trying to reach someone on the phone. From what I’ve seen, we are likely to stop ourselves short in attempted communication way too early. It’s likely our fear of rejection or insecurities in asking will get the better of our reaching out way before we become too pushy and cross a line.
- Switch up your mode of communication after several attempts via phone (my advice is 3 attempts at the very least) to a text message or a Facebook message. However, avoid written messages in asking for appointments whenever you can.
- Stagger your attempts at calling. Consider waiting a couple of days before trying again if you’ve gotten radio silence thus far. It may look something like this:
- July 1st – Attempt 1 to call Sally Jones (no voicemail).
- July 2nd – Attempt two to call Sally Jones (brief voicemail: “Hey Sally it’s Jenn. Would love to connect with you on something – I may try to call you back, but if you get a chance give me a call.”)
- July 7th – Attempt 3 to call Sally Jones (brief voicemail: “Hey Sally it’s Jenn again. Just trying to reach you on that thing I mentioned in the last voice mail. If you get a chance give me a call, but I’ll probably be trying you again. Hope to chat you soon.”)
- July 21st – Attempt 4 to call Sally Jones (voicemail AND Text before: “Hey Sally there is something important I would love to discuss with you – and briefly. Can we use the phone for a minute?”)
- August 7th – Attempt 5 to call Sally Jones (voicemail that tells her I will email her with information: “Hey Sally, it’s Jenn Fortner. I’ll go ahead and email you on the thing I’m trying to connect with you on to see if that works better for you. I’d love to connect soon if possible. I’m sure your busy but if you get a chance to check your email that would be great. Thanks Sally!”)
SWITCHING COMMUNICATION METHOD
Essentially what I did with Sally is switch modes of communication. Instead of calling again I am now switching to text and email for the time being. It could be that I would decide to switch the communication method just to text, or to Facebook Messenger, or to just email. How I choose to switch it up is largely placed on past communication I’ve had with Sally, and what I’ve noticed her communicating with to me and others in the past.
With Sally if I don’t hear anything via email or text from her at that point, I may put her in some type of organization system I keep with others I was unable to reach, and I will most likely try to reach out again after several months of waiting.
There’s a lot of contingencies in the wide wide world or financial partnership development and phone calls, but I hope this post helps a bit as you think about your strategy in reaching people who don’t like to pick up the phone.
What are your thoughts? What works best for you? Post it in the comments! I’d love to start a discussion here!
I was a psychology major in college. Loved it. I learned about the brain, personality, and counseling. It was all super intriguing stuff. In one of my classes I remember learning about the sociology principle of diffusion of responsibility. Maybe some of you know of it? It’s the principle that states that people are less likely to take action or responsibility in the presence of a large group of people. When referring specifically to responding to an individual in distress, it’s also known as the bystander effect.
Though it may not be helping an individual in distress, I think the principle of diffusion of responsibility comes into play in a huge way when asking for financial support. Think about it. Here’s a scenario:
You are sitting in a church service and a missionary comes to the platform to speak. You like what they have to say and are drawn by their level of passion and the tone of their voice. You pick up bits and pieces, but you are distracted by the need for more coffee or maybe your wiggly kid. At the end the missionary clearly shares that they are in need of monthly financial support and you look around the room at everyone else. You think simultaneously that you are looking forward to lunch and that you hope some of these good church folk give generously to the missionary speaking. You even consider giving yourself. Then, your wiggly kid spills your coffee on the floor and you don’t think about it again until your walking out the church door. You see the missionary is smiling at you as you walk past and you hurriedly tell the missionary “thanks for sharing, we enjoyed it!” and walk out the door. And scene.
Familiar? This is the principle of diffusion of responsibility. Totally. AKA this is why we ask for financial partnership one-on-one, face-to-face.
Take that scene and think about it – if you’re sitting in a large group of people you will be less likely to give if the person asking is not directly asking YOU. You’ll be sitting in the congregation, just like everyone else, thinking that there are plenty of others in the room that will likely give. And the problem is everyone in the room is thinking THE SAME THING. Thus a real problem occurs when speaking to a group of people – large or small.
As I pointed out, the absolute best way to ask someone to join your monthly financial partnership team is in person, and best done one-on-one. Right? Right. However, there may be times you are asked to speak to a small group or at some type of an event. And keeping that personal interaction and the principle of diffusion of responsibility in mind – what do you do? What if a friend offers to throw you a dinner party to raise funds? What if your church wants to host a fundraiser specifically for your assignment? What if a small group at your church wants you to come and speak?
What do you do if you want the personal connection that a face-to-face appointment offers, but you want to jump on the chance to interact with a small group or say yes to that event?
First off, even with the bystander effect in mind, sharing at a small group or event is a great way to garner contact information and connect with people you otherwise may not have the opportunity to interact with. And it’s always a bonus to make new connections and widen your contact base! So say yes when new connections can be made from sharing at a small group or doing an event! Keeping that in mind, let’s talk about how to make that group ask in the best way possible.
THE TWO MAIN OBJECTIVES WITH ANY SMALL GROUP / EVENT
With all small group / event opportunities you should have two main objectives:
- To make an clear, bold, ask – live at the event.
- To grab contact information from everyone at the event in order to follow up with face-to-face appointments where appropriate.
Let’s break both objectives down and talk about the how-to’s involved.
OBJECTIVE 1: THE LIVE ASK AT A SMALL GROUP OR EVENT
When sharing at a small group or event make a clear, bold ask. To make that ask the most effective possible, come super prepared. Chat with the leader of the group or pastor beforehand and make sure you know the details needed. This would be some of the following:
- How long will you be expected to speak?
- Dress code?
- What time does the event / small group start and end? Address / directions.
- What is the program for the event / small group?
- What do you need to bring?
- Is there any protocol the leader would like you to follow when asking?
- Any special instructions or things you need to know?
- Are you allowed to make a clear ask during the event?
When you arrive mingle with the group and introduce yourself to anyone you do not already know. This will help the bystander effect for many people. Have with you the needed pledge forms / giving information and any printed materials you typically take with you to an appointment.
When you share, fill in the WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY of what you are doing. Make sure to talk about how you were called and take the opportunity to inspire those you are sharing with to follow their own callings. One of the most important questions you can answer to any group when sharing about your assignment is “why you”. Why you are going, why you are called, and why is this important to you.
When you make the ask – make it bold and clear and spell out what your needs are. Do not assume they know. Don’t leave them to fill in the gaps.
OBJECTIVE 2: GRABBING CONTACT INFORMATION AND FACE-TO-FACE FOLLOW UPS
As I stated the downside to any small group or event is the diffusion of responsibility / bystander effect. What’s the best way to combat this problem when speaking to a group? Insert connect cards, the super hero of event asking!
You can find out more about how to make your own connect cards in the link above. Essentially they are cards where individuals fill out their name, address, phone number, and check little boxes that apply to their level of interest – such as “interested in more information” “give me your newsletter!” “make me a prayer partner” and “I want to give!”
How do you use them? During your time speaking at a small group or event, hold up the connect cards while you are presenting and explain them. Something along the lines of “I would love if you took a moment right now – yes while I’m talking – and fill out this handy dandy card I’m holding up. It gives us a way to stay connected with you and share information on what is happening overseas. It also helps us if you’d like to join our prayer or financial partnership team. Please go ahead and fill it out and if you’d be so kind – find someone from your table to collect them and give them to me afterwards.”
Boom. Now you have shared clearly from the platform what you will be doing, why you are going, that you need financial support, AANNNND you also have contact information to call people after the event (preferably as soon as possible after the event – like 24 to 48 hours). When calling, thank them for attending the event/small group and find out if you could meet with them face-to-face to answer any questions and find out more about them. Engage each person based off of what they checked in the check boxes. This removes the bystander effect as you invite them relationally on your team. When meeting with your new friends take time to find out who they are and build relationship, and ask if they’d like to join your team.
So now that we have the basics of our main two objectives in asking groups and small groups, here are some special notes to keep in mind:
SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT SMALL GROUPS
- Connect with the leader before hand and discuss some of the questions above – like how long you’ll be expected to share.
- Ask questions about the group to the group, people love talking about themselves – and groups like to share what makes them special.
- Bring donuts! Everyone loves donuts!
- Find out how you can stay connected with the group at large. Ask them to adopt you as a group in prayer.
- Revisit that same group (if it still exists) when you come back from the field or into the area to strength relationships.
- Have each member of the group fill out a connect card, and explain the connect card while you are there.
SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT EVENTS
- Prepare the program you will be following prior to the event and add elements that make it extra interesting and informative. Come up with attention grabbers and interesting stories of lives changed.
- Find ways to add value to those attending.
- Decorate! Make the event enjoyable and attractive.
- Have food, dessert, or coffee available.
- Time your event to insure that the most amount of people can make it as possible.
- Share a video. If a few of your ministry team members are already serving, ask if they would create a video for you explaining what they are doing and how much they want you funded and on the field with them. If your ministry has a video that already exists, share it (keep videos pretty short though).
- Have a ministry co-worker, friend, or pastor speak on your behalf during the event. Consider having a pastor or well known figure make the ask for you to the crowd.
- Have pledge forms and connect cards on each table before guests arrive. Explain about the connect cards and pledge forms from the platform when speaking.
- Make your presentation appropriately professional, clear, vulnerable, and real.
Do you have any tips for sharing in small groups or events? Share them in the comments! I would love to hear them!
As a coach, the question I probably answer the most is how do I follow up with people who have said they will give, but haven’t started giving yet?
Having to follow up with verbal commitments is normal, and the need for it is frequent. It can also be one of the more awkward things we do in raising up our financial partnership teams – but it doesn’t have to be. Below are some tips for changing verbal commitments into written ones, and how to do it correctly.
I hope this infographic helps you in your follow up! Don’t forget to smile through the phone if your calling – it makes a difference. – JF