Fundraising –Putting the Fun back in FUNdraising
Okay, let’s just state the obvious: fundraising can bring nausea to the most solid of faithful followers of Jesus. Often it takes a strong paradigm shift away from an “asking” or “begging” mentality for ministry funding to one that gives friends the “better” option because they get to be the givers. For this paradigm shift, I must remember like Luke did in the book of Acts that even Jesus himself said, “that it is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)!
In my life, I remember when I moved from a well paying corporate job into a ministry position in which I “lived by faith” that I had an epiphany about God’s economy. Having been clearly called by God to enter “faith based” ministry, and being the first in my family to do so ( I came from a typical blue collar household where you worked hard, gave to others and saved up for things but never asked for financial help) I had to wrestle with and re-think what had been communicated to me from all the voices around me – that those who do “real work” “earn their keep” when in fact that every believer, even those who “work for a living” are living by faith. The Lord knew the paradigm that needed shifting: God both owns it all and provides everything that we have. To prove this point God provided me with an indelible memory that truly “Faithful is He who calls us, and He will bring it to pass.” 1 Thes. 5:24
After leaving my corporate job, I left my apartment, sold most of anything of value that I had, and moved back in with my parents until I raised the ministry support I needed to Missionally launch. The very first morning I woke up and on my parent’s front porch was a crumpled brown paper lunch bag with my name on it. I opened up the bag to find a note that simply said “Dan, God told me that you need this more than I do”. In the bag was $67.23 of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. That is all I needed to get it: God would take care of me, if would trust Him to and let him provide. I have never looked back from that moment!
With that all said, I have observed a few principles on fundraising over the thirty plus years that followed that front porch memory. Please consider these few thoughts on how to navigate your own 7 C’s of fundraising that lies ahead. Please read and think through the list below before we start the first of four modules on fundraising.
1) Commitment to my calling:
- Am I so convinced of God’s missional calling on my life, that I am willing to do ministry free?
- Knowing that I cannot ask people to go any further than I have gone, am I willing to lead in sacrifice and generosity regarding both in generous sacrificial giving and selfless service?
2) Confess my inability to do it alone
- Is the task at hand (raising the dollars from a support team) so God sized that I know, for certain that I cannot do it without God?
- Do I believe that God owns everything (Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 and see if anything was left out) and it is from His hand that all provision will happen?
3) Create a community around the movement
- Am I willing to prayerfully build a true support team around me and not just see it as a transaction to raise dollars? Will I take the time to prayerfully recruit the right:
- Coach – someone who has been a part of fundraising (preferably in the ministry focus that I am involved in) that can meet with me, encourage me, strategize with me and challenge me to press on.
- Counselors – those who will add value in specific areas:
- Prayer warriors that will cover me, my family, the mission and the provision of resources with bold prayers of intercession.
- Lead developers that will lead the charge in building relationships with team members who can pray, fund and serve the mission.
- Administrators that will cross the t’s and dot the I’s for you, keep you on track for all the ad-ministry details that can make or break you.
- Accountants that will note the credits and debits, balance the budget and keep donors informed on status and thankfully receipted.
- Will I collect the contact information of my champions first – those who believe in you and will be financial stakeholders in your endeavor.
- Think about those who remember your birthday with a gift or a card – close friends and close family.
- Think of those who recognize your birthday on social media and are interested in your life including family, friends and acquaintances at church or fellowship
- Think of those who you know are generous givers and invest in ministry work – churches, foundations,
4) Call for prayer
My friend Lonnie Riley has challenged me to not just Ask God and Knock continually on God’s door to remind him of what I need, but not to forget what is sandwiched in between those in Matthew 7:7 – SEEK! You can catch a glimpse of Lonnie here
Part of the joy in FUNdraising is seeking God in the process of prayer and if the Bible is true, then I believe that Jeremiah 29:13 guarantees that if I seek Him, I will find Him if I seek Him with my whole heart!
In God’s economy – he wants me to ask, seek and knock and in the process I will grow deeper in love with Him.
You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:2-3
5) Compelling Case presented to investors
Will I Carefully research and communicate an awareness of how the missional expression that I am a part of is unique, effective and critical to the Kingdom? I need to be able to communicate this effectively both verbally and non-verbally.
6) Clear Call to join
am I willing to specifically ask those on my champion list to join me in prayer, financial support and or direct ministry involvement communicating the how much, how often and how long of the request?
- Will I let the team know specifically what I need from them and for how long? A short note on asking for multi-year commitments – I personally think that they tend to move my heart away from God and my seeking him for daily bread (‘nough said).
7) Communicate information and gratitude regularly and appropriately
- Am I willing to take the time necessary to express gratitude with those who invest in the mission in any manner and to celebrate with the team all milestones reached?
- Knowing that it is a two way street in living by faith, will I be equipped to remember significant dates (birthdays and anniversaries) and prayer needs for those on my team? If I am truly building a team than I have to see the big picture as relational and formational and not just transactional.
Word SECTION 1
24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. – 1 Thes. 5:24 (NASB)
Watch SECTION 2
George Mueller – veggie tale video. 7 minutes
Video conversation with Dan, Tammy and Jay. 4.5 minutes
Ministry Partners: Personal Stories 9 minutes
Ministry Partners: Kingdom Economics 7 minutes
Ministry Partners: Numbers Make You Panic, God Does Not Make You Panic 10.5 minutes
Ministry Partners 9.5 minutes
Ministry Partners 7 minutes
Ministry Partners 8 minutes
Ministry Partners 5 minutes
Read SECTION 3
Read Henri Nouwen on Fundraising book assigned to you when you joined the MPP.
Reflect SECTION 4
Ask your mentor their best and worst experience in being asked to financially support a ministry.