If you answered yes, well, I happen to respectfully disagree with you dear reader. Do you mind if I point out some reasons why? Before I do, I’d love to try and clarify my stance on this specific subject.
I believe it’s great to share budget details with an individual during a face to face appointment IF THEY ASK for the information. However, if they don’t ask, I truly believe it is good to only talk in percentages and not lead with budget information. (AKA: don’t put your budget details in your newsletter, don’t make the ask in the appointment by sharing you have X amount to raise in monthly support and X amount in cash, and don’t share the information around the water cooler so to speak)
Why you ask? Let’s start off by exploring 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 $4,200 in monthly support for two years and a cash budget of $35,000. 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 $4,200 per month and $35,000 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, a 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? As I mentioned briefly above, talk in percentages! Change the sentence from “I need $4,200 in monthly support and $305000 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?“
Another very important thing to mention here: 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, as I mentioned before: 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 challenged their friends on Facebook for Giving Tuesday in November of last year to help them raise $2,000 toward their budget. They shared in their videos and posts that the $2,000 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!
this post is re-posted and edited from original post in 2017 – you can find it here.