by Bruce Dingman (Open as PDF)
For many, even pastors or presidents of Christian organizations, doing “the ask” is really tough if they think of it as begging. But that’s not the way God would have us view it. Even if one is shy, changing one’s perspective on the subject can make a big difference.
Scripture says we are “to be ever ready to tell of the hope that is within us” and then trust the Holy Spirit to lead the person to a saving relationship through Jesus Christ. Likewise, so we are to approach asking people to give. It is our job to tell of the financial need, the opportunity to give to the Lord’s work, and then leave it up to the Holy Spirit if they are to give. We should not, we have no right, to take ownership of getting them to give. Do not go there. That is His job.
The “theology of stewardship” boils down to He owns the cattle on 1,000 hills. It is all His. So, one should not get uptight regarding fundraising results not being as fruitful as one would like. To get the best results, one should do three things: be diligent, be smart, and be reciprocal.
Be Diligent. Go about the task with enthusiasm and intentionality. Do not procrastinate and do not blame God if the results don’t happen when one has done the best they can with diligence. Leave room for the possibility that God did not want it to happen.
Be Smart. People want to give to a person they believe is effective or to a project they are excited about. Let them know the need. Maybe they don’t need to know the total support one needs, but newsletters that communicate something like “we’re praying for the Lord to raise up the equivalent of another 18 supporters at $50/month so we can be at 100% of our needed support level” or needs like “if the Lord provides $2,500, our family can go to the annual conference next August in Germany for spiritual growth, fellowship and relaxation” or “we are hoping to raise $2,400 for this year’s tuition for our children at the Christian Academy.” Tell them stories of the impact of the work. For example, sharing testimonies of changed lives are effective. People want to hear how the Lord is using the ministry in the lives to draw individuals to Him, or to train pastors, or whatever is the mission emphasis.
Be Reciprocal. Ask them how you can pray for them. Not only is it right that you care about your supporters, but it also helps build a bond with them. If they are praying about your ministry, they are caring about you, and likely to be financial supporters.
Lastly, use the right frequency when communicating with supporters. Monthly is too often, once or twice a year not frequent enough. Quarterly updates tend to work best for all.
Personal comment: It has been my pleasure to serve on the several missions boards for the past 25 years. I have led numerous leadership searches where fundraising was a crucial part of the job, if not the sole responsibility of the position. Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you would like some thoughts on how to be more effective in fundraising.
I would be glad to share my insights with you.