In my new role as a church planter I am being stretched and doing many things that are new to me. One of those things is fund raising. I had done a little asking for money in the past, as far as increasing budgets and things that were missions trip related, but this was a good 100k beyond that. Things change when you are raising support for your own family. I thought today I would share some things I have learned that might encourage someone else who is in that season of life.
- Make a plan – I love the saying “if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time”. You need a startup plan just like any business trying to get off the ground. For me that was a timeline of when we needed to do certain things, including raising money. I also think it is important to know your audience and to guesstimate what bracket certain churches, individuals, and organizations will probably give in. We had a goal of 5 churches being very involved as well as 5 individuals who could give more than an average family.
- WORK the plan – Like anything else, to be successful at fundraising you have to work. You need to make a checklist of who you are going to contact and how you have tried or failed and what correspondence you have had. Someone might be an email person, or they may only want you to call or text them. You have to find your niche as well as how your specific audience is comfortable.
- Get organized – When you talk to someone, you have to be able to say your vision and what you need very clearly. You also need to do your homework and answer any and every question they may have. For us, that meant I put in hours of work months ahead putting together a very polished proposal that I would send people by email and than request a meeting with them. The proposal was my currency that told them I was serious about this and that I had put in the work.
- Don’t be afraid to rely on relationship – Sometimes you feel like you are bothering people by asking them for money, but the reality is that they can say “no”. People who know you have a vested interest in your life and are a part of your story. Give them a vision for where you are going and how they can be apart of that. No one else will believe in you more than those who have been closest in your life so your core support should come from this same area.
- Have thick skin – People will tell you no so get ready for it. They might do it nicely and they might not. It might be someone you expected and it might not. If you are going to be bold with your requests, expect some bold answers for the better and worse. What you are starting is going to be much tougher than being told no so let it be a testing ground for your dream.