Fundraising? Ten Thoughts from Raising $150K in 40 Days
God in His grace surprised us at Seven Mile Road this Fall. We needed to raise $150,000. Cash. In 40 days. In the teeth of a recession. In a Jesus-hating commonwealth. Somehow, we did it. I am still not sure how, but I am looking at the signed documents.
I’ve complied a list of 10 key things I took out of the exhausting process of leading our church through that season. May they be a help to others who will need to raise some capital to fund the redemptive work of God among those they are called to.
1. You have probably never actually met the person who will make the biggest gift.
We realized that those who could give large gifts ($5k+) probably resided outside of our immediate circle. And so we tried to fund-raise in a way that not only asked people we knew to give, but asked them to help us get connected to others who might as well.
2. Be clear that everyone who is local is expected and encouraged to give something.
The percentage of people who gave was as important to us as the final amount given. 90% people participating means that 90% of your people were on board, and that momentum was priceless.
3. Be ready for potential bigger givers to attach their own requirements … and don’t budge.
If someone says, “I’ll give you ten grand, but I want assurances that you will run a Vacation Bible School out of that new building,” feel free to chuckle. And then cast vision for what you are going to do with your children.
4. Your fund-raising begins way before your fund-raising begins.
The way that you conduct your ministry now … your diligence, your holiness, your communication, your thoroughness … all pays off when it’s time to ask for financial help for a specific opportunity.
5. Phone calls and face-to-face conversations are way more effective than letters or email.
It was the face-to-face and phone conversations that bore the most fruit for us. It was so much easier to cast compelling vision, answer questions, and connect with people that way.
6. Decide before you begin that you are seeing this thing through to the end.
Days one and two were easy. Day 32 was brutal. “Hey, you have money somewhere, I know it, you know it, give it to me, now.” Setting a daily goal of speaking with someone every day of the campaign was helpful.
7. Get your language/script down for the specific ‘ask’.
To get over the fear-hump, I memorized some helpful language so I didn’t stutter like a 13 year old girl happening upon Justin Bieber at the airport.
8. Do not let anger sneak into your heart when people don’t give.
I fought countless sins during the campaign. One nasty one was this anger that would rise up in my heart when someone didn’t give.
9. Be the first one to give generously.
I made sure that our family was among the very first to say, “We are in, and we are in with a generous gift.” We didn’t publicize that, but it was an integrity issue.
10. You will need different print documents for different audiences.
We had a colorful, multi-page pdf that told the whole story of our church and the space. This was really helpful to a certain audience. Then we had a one-page executive summary that basically said, “Here’s the opportunity and how much we need.” That document was best for busier folks who knew numbers and had financial means.
Read the full-version of this article here.
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