How To Get From 28% Funded to 100% In ONE WEEK: Testimony

Eariler this month a couple I coach in financial partnership went from 28% funded to 100% funded within ONE WEEK. Yes, that’s right, ONE WEEK.

The story is full of those Jesus moments that hits like a ton of bricks. It’s the kind of story that reminds me that yes, God is real. And yes, Jesus loves all the little children of the world. And yes, God cares more about His people and the Great Commission WWWAAAYYY more than I do – even in my most zealous moments.

In short, the story had my mind blown, so you need to hear the testimony too. Right? Right.

raw

So how did this couple go from 28% to 100% in one week? JESUS. Definitely JESUS. Let that be known first and foremost. However, God also used their attitudes and strategy that I think we can glean from. Let me tell you the story first, and then get into some takeaways.

TESTIMONY TIME

Rick and Pam are a couple heading overseas as christian workers for the first time. As they began their first time raising a budget, Rick and Pam took my financial partnership training and learned how to ask individuals to join their team by way of face-to-face appointments. They have been going strong building their team for 5 months, primarily holding meetings inside their home sharing their ministry vision and passion with friends and family.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone with Rick for a coaching update. Rick shared that he and Pam were fasting and praying together, and felt from their time praying that God wanted to double what they had raised by the end of the month (they were at 28% raised at the time). #faith!

I was excited with them and admired their zeal, but as the ever practical coach I encouraged Rick that if that didn’t happen God was still moving on their behalf and wanted them on the field. As they really felt it was going to happen, they shared their faith on their secret Facebook group and began getting their team praying with them.

A day after we spoke on the phone, Rick and Pam had a meeting set up with a couple (we will call them Joel and Judy Smith) from their home church. Their relationship with the Smith’s was a good one, but it was more of a former connection than a current one.

(This is where the testimony comes in…keep reading)

That night during the appointment Rick and Pam shared their heart for their ministry with passion and asked if the Smiths would join their financial partnership team. Potential Partner Joel responded by asking what their budget requirements were. He then folded up a piece of paper with an amount on it. Joel handed it to Rick and then Joel said, “Judy and I could go to the car and discuss what we would like to do as support, but I know what The Lord wants us to do already.”

Meanwhile Potential Partner wife Judy had already heard the Lord tell her before coming over for dinner that her and her husband were to “finish what was left” of Rick and Pam’s budget. Joel and Judy had not discussed amongst themselves what they would do to financially support Rick and Pam – but when the paper that Joel had written on was unfolded it was EXACTLY what Judy had heard God told her.

The paper unfolded and read $5,000 A MONTH, the commitment thus finishing the rest of what Rick and Pam needed to get to 100%  – just as they believed God would do! (And remember, this happened only a day after they shared in faith that God was going to double their budget by the end of the month).

WHHHAAATTT??

It gets better – actually Rick and Pam had started their faith journey many years ago by giving $5,000 into missions. It was a huge stretch for them to give that much at the time, and came out of them both praying and hearing God separately challenge them to give. They knew when they saw Joel and Judy’s gift that God was strengthening their faith and giving back what they had already sown into the kingdom many years ago.

TAKEAWAYS

Now let’s talk about some takeaways from Rick and Pam’s story.

  1. It’s easy to get into a routine of making phone calls, having appointments, and calling pastors for services without consulting God on the particulars. Rick and Pam kept their ears open to what God had to say about building their team and leaned into Him for timing on asking potential partners like the Smiths. They also prayed and fasted concerning their financial partnership on a regular basis. Are you fasting? Are you praying continuously? Are you listening to God’s voice? Is building your team a spiritual pursuit for you, or merely a means to an end?
  2. Rick and Pam worked hard and met face to face with potential partners. They didn’t just pray and sit back on the couch – letting God bring in their partnership team. They didn’t take any short cuts either, they met personally with potential partners and typically had 3 or 4 appointments a week. It can be tempting to take a short cut instead of investing the time and energy with meeting people face to face – but face to face will always be the best way to invite people onto your team. It will always be the most relational, thus yielding an actual TEAM of committed financial partners.
  3. Give extravagantly yourself! Rick and Pam started their lifestyle of missions by giving, and thus it was given back to them. Are you giving into missions? Are you fulfilling your stewardship goals? Are you an extravagant giver? 
  4. Rick and Pam invited Joel and Judy onto their team although they hadn’t been in touch with them as much over the recent years as they were prior. Don’t be scared to ask people who aren’t on your “A list” of potential supporters. It can be tempting to edit our list of potential supporters to only people we are comfortable asking. Don’t make that mistake! You may miss out on who God is wanting to bring onto your team! Are you editing your list? 
  5. Now here’s something I didn’t tell you, Rick and Pam are actually still raising up their team! God more than doubled their budget, however they feel through prayer they are to continue to inviting their friends and family onto their partnership team. Why you ask? Because they know more people may want to sow into the Great Commission, and they don’t want to keep them from that opportunity. They also feel God wants them to keep going past 100%. Sometimes God will provide that “major donor” – but it is possible He may want you to keep going and build up a larger team. What a different (and refreshing!) perspective am I right?!  What is your perspective – is it that raising up your team is just a means to an end, or a vital part of your ministry? Does He want you to invite more people to join with the ministry of sharing the Gospel, maybe taking you past 100%? 

Let this be a reminder – continually involve God in your journey of raising your budget. Pray, fast, seek God for His timing, who He is directing you to ask, and minister faithfully throughout the process. He will provide! He is faithful! 

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20

Ultimately, It’s Not About You

About 10 years ago I transitioned from a full-time ministry position with a team of financial partners giving faithfully, to a secular position with a salary. (I of course found myself back into full time ministry eventually.) As I made this transition I wondered how to communicate the transition effectively to my support team, and how to tell them how much I appreciated them and their faithful giving throughout the years. Moving from a job in ministry to a secular position was a hard decision to make, but I knew the Lord was leading me. 

Thus as I developed my exit communication strategy I decided that instead of merely sending a newsletter sharing the news, that I would have appointments (or phone call if I they couldn’t meet face to face) with my team to let them know personally. As I began making phone calls and having appointments, it became clear to me that my team members had invested themselves and their hearts not only in me, but the ministry I served. 

During one particular phone call, a team member asked if I knew of anyone serving in the ministry that needed more financial support. I said yes, and they asked and if I could connect them together.

Thus a great idea was born: What if I asked my support team to transfer their giving to one my ministry co-workers? That way, my team would still feel invested in the ministry they came to care so much about and my formal co-workers would be strengthened. = WIN WIN SITUATION. 

I decided to ask each of my team members if they would prayerfully consider giving the support they had been giving me to my friend Gayathri. I explained to them that Gayathri was a fellow staff member from India, and was saved 3 years ago while coming to the States for her masters program. Gayathri had several uphill battles in her ministry partnership development, a major one being she had limited amount of contacts in America. I explained Gayathri’s specific ministry and why I thought they should give. 

The response from my team was overwhelming… especially for Gayathri! 

Gayathri not only raised the majority of what she needed to be fully-funded, she eventually ended up transitioning herself and becoming one of the financial partner’s new youth directors. Gayathri had done such a fantastic job building relationship with this financial partner that they asked her to join them in their own ministry! Again = WIN WIN SITUATION!

I share this story with you to plant the idea of transferring your financial partners when it is time in your head. If you ever transition out of ministry, what would it look like to ask your financial partnership team to transfer their giving? Here are some practical tips if you find yourself where I did 10 years ago:

1. When exiting or transitioning from your current ministry, don’t merely send a newsletter out! Personally contact as many of your team members as possible before sending a newsletter. Thank them for their faithfulness in giving and praying and share with them what you will be doing moving forward. Share with them what the Lord has done while you’ve been in ministry. Sit down face-to-face with as many of your financial partners as possible. 

** if you are overseas and making a transition, share with as many of your financial partners personally prior to sending out a newsletter or coming home. This can be done while you are still overseas using Skype, email, phone call, etc. When you do come back to the States, seek your financial partners out and have an extended time with them face to face. Share with them what the Lord did through your ministry while overseas. Make it personal and thank them for their giving. You never know if this is the end of your ministry career, so be intentional and purposeful with closing this season of ministry. 

2. When contacting your team members, ask if they would be interested in transitioning their giving to one of your co-workers. If they say yes, schedule a time that all of you can sit down together as able. Your role would be to introduce each party, sharing appropriate details and connecting them in relationship. 

*if you or your team member is overseas while transitioning financial partners, you’ll have to get creative on this. Make sure you default to the most relational means possible to connect your financial partners and your co-worker, and meet face-to-face when you can. 

3. Pray about what c0-worker(s) could use the additional support.

4. If you have a specific co-worker in mind (like I did with Gayathri), prep that person prior to your asking. Let your co-worker know your intention to ask your financial partners to transition their giving to them. 

5. Communicate with your co-worker that your expectation is for them to build fruitful relationships with their new financial partners. Make sure you don’t transfer your financial partners to someone who will not invest relationally with them! 

**if your co-worker happens not to shine in this area, or perhaps your co-worker is too new for you to know how excellent they are in this area, perhaps coach them through best practices of ministry partnership development and what you have learned along the way. Advice of a veteran who is fully-funded is always helpful! 

6. Follow protocol and guidelines of your sending organization if you ask your financial partners to transfer their giving. If you don’t know what they are, find out prior to asking. 

Ultimately, your financial partners are not yours, they are God’s. Truly, it is not about you. Sure one of the main principles of ministry partnership development remains: “people give to people above a cause.” However, hopefully as your financial partners have given to you over the years they have heard your passion for the work you have done – and hopefully that passion has been infectious. Thus, ask your team to transfer their giving to a worthy co-worker and see what happens. The Gayathri’s of the world will be grateful!

Don’t Just Fundraise, Multiply Yourselves

If you are reading this blog on a regular basis, chances are you are in some aspect of ministry. You are also likely to be raising your finances to do so, right? 

Assuming that you are a ministry worker raising support, I have a question for you: What factor was the most influential in getting to your field of ministry? Use the poll below to answer, please. 

If these poll results are indicative of what I have seen statistically, one of the most influential factors will be speaking in-person with a Christian worker or hearing a christian worker speak about their ministry to a group. 

Essentially, I am in my career in ministry because someone was intentional with me. 

What about you?

The person that inspired me took the time to notice me, to point me out, and to speak into my life. They took time out of their busy speaking and traveling schedule to answer my questions and find out more about me. Stopping to notice someone takes time and effort–and most importantly, it takes an intentional habit/profound belief that we aren’t just running around raising our budgets be cause we have to: we are ministering to the body of Christ. God designed it this way for a reason.

Guess what, dear reader? It’s time to be intentional with your audiences as you raise your funds! If you aren’t already doing so, be intentional when speaking in groups, at services, or face-to-face. You are now that person you were once inspired by. Yes, YOU. Not the person next to you. Not the person more charismatic or more extroverted than you. For real: YOU!

If you think about it, you (and other workers like you) are now the best advocates of the Great Commission on the earth

As we go about our support raising, let’s take that role seriously and not just raise our budgets but multiply ourselves. The most effective fundraising Christian workers I know are not as concerned about raising their budget as they are about inspiring the Body of Christ. They see fundraising not as a means to an end but as an invitation.

An invitation to the Great Commission and an invitation to inspire others to follow Christ no matter the cost. An invitation to minister to friends and family around them. An invitation to raise up involved teams of supporters who are going with them in the trenches of prayer and support, and perhaps physically serving in short term ways. 

Raising your funds is a lifestyle opportunity to provoke the body of Christ to do something and to be a part of something larger than themselves. The best support raisers I know don’t see their budget on the micro level: rather, they focus on the macro and eternal worldview Paul had: “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Philippians 4:17. 

If we are bold and clear in our asks and see support raising truly as ministry, we will naturally multiply ourselves and become effective in our ministries even before we even reach the field.

As you go forth in your itineration, look for people who were like you before you got started on your current path. Or people who are like you now! People who need to be called out from the crowd.  People who are called to ministry but may have questions, hesitations, or simply don’t know that there is a place for them. It may be that they need that extra push to follow God into their own area of ministry, just like you once did.

 

Fundraising Goals: 7 Goals You Should Have to Start 2016 Off Right

Did you know that 45% of the American population make New Years Resolutions? In general this is the month that the nation is thinking about health, wellness, and personal goals. Are you? Though I didn’t make New Years Resolutions per say, I know I am thinking about my personal goals for this year. As I have been developing my own for 2016, I found these Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions from 2015 interesting:

Top 10 New Years Resolutions for 2015:

#1  Lose Weight

#2 Get Organized

#3 Spend Less, Save More

#4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest

#5 Stay Fit and Healthy

#6 Learn Something Exciting

#7 Quit Smoking

#8 Help Others In Their Dreams

#9 Fall In Love

#10 Spend More Time With Family

Can you relate to any of these? For those of you thinking about your 2016 goals along with me, I’d like to add the goals below for your consideration. Consider making 2016 your best year of living a healthy lifestyle of ministry partnership development. Without further ado, here are some goals to consider in making 2016 a fabulous ministry partnership development year:

GOAL #1: DO BETTER AT KEEPING UP WITH YOUR EXISTING FINANCIAL AND PRAYER PARTNERS. Where do you find yourself on this spectrum:

  1. “COMMUNICATION ROCK STAR”: You have always been good at regularly contacting your financial and prayer partners. You keep up with at least a few of them each month by email, text message, phone call, or skype. You continually write your newsletters and are very personal with those whom support you.
  2. “KINDA STRUGGLE BUT E FOR EFFORT”: You have had seasons at being good at communicating with your financial and prayer partners, perhaps here and there emailing the ones you felt comfortable with. However if are were honest you haven’t done much besides a few group Facebook posts and newsletters.
  3. “#EPICFAIL”: You have never been good at contacting your financial and prayer partners. You avoid contacting them, feel awkward when you do, and struggle to write newsletters.

So where do you find yourself on the spectrum?

Maybe you find yourself somewhere in between “Communication Rock Star” or “Kinda Struggle but E for Effort”? Or maybe “#EpicFail” doesn’t even begin to describe your lack of efforts? Wherever you find yourself in that spectrum make 2016 the year you start with regular (and quality) communication with your financial and prayer partners. Make regular social media posts, newsletters, emails, skype conversations, and phone conversations a priority in your existing ministry schedule.  Go beyond the newsletter. Get beyond the mass communication and become relationally driven. Don’t just get a team of people giving you checks every month and wondering what your up to – strive to keep your financial partners informed and make them actual friends. Contact them personally and ask how they are doing, and how you can pray. Give personal updates. I PROMISE this is a BIG DEAL. Remember, without your financial and prayer team you WOULD NOT be ministering to your particular population. Make them feel valued and it will make all of the difference to them, and ultimately to you.

GOAL #2: ENSURE YOUR FINANCIAL PARTNERS CAN EASILY GIVE ONLINE. A recent study done by Dunham&Company shows that 67% of donors ages 40-59 said they have given online. That percentage is up by 20% since 2010. If your organization provides a way to give online, make sure you readily offer that option to your potential financial partners and that you make it easy for your financial partners to give online. Create giving instructions that can be emailed or texted out for your financial partners or get into the habit of walking them through the steps of online giving yourself.

GOAL #3: BEEF UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE. The same study mentioned above by Dunham&Company shows that 26% of donors said they have given to a charity’s website as a result of being asked on social media. This is up by 20% from only A YEAR AGO. Wow. I love this quote on the findings:

“It’s important to not misinterpret the findings,” Dunham says. “Donors are not responding more to requests for support from organizations through social media. They are responding to friends or others they know who, through social media, ask them for support of a specific charity, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Social media for nonprofits is still primarily a means to build community and engagement rather than a fundraising tool.”

What we can say about social media at this point is this: it is a very effective tool to build community and engagement. I’m not saying to ask for blanket support on Facebook. Nope. Nope I’m not at all. But I am saying consider making your social media presence more intentional in 2016. Use exciting videos, informative posts with pictures, and infographics to grab people’s attention. Stay up to date on what is going on with your financial and prayer partnership team. If you do use Facebook for “the ask”, make sure you create a structured Facebook campaign.

GOAL #4: MAKE YOUR PRESENTATION GREAT. If you are regularly speaking inside church congregations or small groups, make sure what you are saying is as effective as it can be. Don’t have a mediocre presentation – make it great! Video yourself giving your next sermon or 5 minute window in front of a congregation. Spend some time going through that video and thinking of ways you could improve. Send it to a few trusted friends for a critique. Having their honest feedback could be what takes your presentation from “meh” to “YESSS!!” If you haven’t polished your presentation in awhile go through it with fresh eyes thinking of ways to improve. Maybe you could add a short video, or a visual of the population you serve? Maybe you could add a new effective story?

GOAL #5: STAY (OR GET) ORGANIZED. This goal is pretty self explanatory. If you are struggling in an area of staying organized, get back on the horse. Being organized with records of who you have asked, who has given, when they have given, how much, etc. is important to have in the genesis of a lifestyle of partnership development. If you are organized you will have more time for ministry and more time for staying connected with your financial and prayer partnership team – it’s that simple. Great programs for this are: TNTMPD, MPDX, or iMissionsPro.

GOAL #6: USE VIDEOS. According to statistics found on the www.Cadre31.com website videos on landing pages increase conversions by 87%. Not only that, 65% of audiences are visual learners and visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than by text. Let the reader understand: videos are a big help in effectively communicating your visionIf you have not created a high quality video that communicates your ministry vision I highly suggest you make it a priority to do so. Spend some time looking at the videos found on Cadre31’s site for some great examples.

If you are not in the habit of making videos (not necessarily high quality – just home videos used to communicate) on social media, get into it. Another statistic states that by 2017 90% of all web traffic will be video.

GOAL #7: PRAY FOR YOUR FINANCIAL AND PRAYER PARTNERSHIP TEAM. When was the last time you made prayer for your financial partnership team a regular part of your prayer life? Have you ever prayed for your team? If you haven’t taken the time to talk to God about your team, then start in 2016. There are multiple benefits of praying for your team that go beyond the obvious. For starters remembering your team in prayer will promote your desire to stay connected to them, naturally have you asking what is going on in their lives, and will remind you that they are a vital part of your ministry.

zachgalifianakisthumbsuThere you have it! May your 2016 be a year filled with happy and relational support raising! Consider making some of these goals your own in 2016.