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Raising Financial Support for a Living: Support Preservation

October 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Okie doke, this is the final post on Raising Support unless there are specific requests. So, in this post I intend on addressing how to Cultivate your Support Team. To cultivate means “to promote or improve the growth of by labor or attention” (dictionary.com).

To labor or give attention to requires a level of commitment from you. Here are 6 commitments that I recommend you be steadfast in. (Notice the present-progressive tense of each.)…

  1. Praying – ask them for prayer requests
  2. Informing – keep them updated
  3. Thanking – communicate gratefulness
  4. Investing – helping them ($) on a mission trip
  5. Relating –  get to know them!
  6. Gift-Giving -give them thoughtful gifts (i.e foreign tea, magnet, card, etc.)

SupportER raising never ends. So, I recommend that once you reach 100% you continue to devote an avg of 2 hours/week to supporters. This time may include writing a newsletter, skyping, sending texts, praying, purchasing a small holiday gift, writing thank-you cards,  etc. Unfortunately, this is one of the first responsibilities dropped from a supporter raiser’s priority list. And that’s why 66/100 supporters don’t feel cared about and quit giving.

Now, that I have established commitments I want to expand ways to INFORM. I’m expanding on this one, because it tends to involve every other commitment. Plus, it is the one that most people have questions on. Also, your supporter’s vision and spiritual health is greatly affected by the quality of your involvement with them. So, here are some ways to inform your team…

5 Ways to Inform:

1) Newsletters:

  •  Send out 4-6 per year
  • Pick 4 months out of this year to send them out.
  • Send emails in between newsletters.
  • Send newsletters even if you only do short-term or occasional mission trips, so that supporters can see the fruit of their investment in daily life. My home church advised that I do this after I raised support twice for a summer project. Even though I was a full-time student, they considered me their missionary and thus wanted to hear from me while I was away at college. I should have been more diligent with this.

How-to?

  • It should read like a front page, not a novel.
  • Via snail mail, Mail Chimp, and consider this website to save on overseas shipping.
  • To create one use: Word, Pages (Mac), or download Newsletter Templates.
  • Include: titles, schedules, #s, color ink, quotes, contact info, pictures, readable font size & color, fun facts, upcoming events, personal things God has been teaching you, ups & downs. (Not every newsletter needs all of this, but keep these in mind.)

2) Emails:

  • Minimum, 1/month ( I had a supporter ask that I send out weekly emails.)
  • These should start even before you are done raising full support.

How-to?

  • Use Subject line appropriately & creatively.
  • Avoid long attachments or lengthy paragraphs.
  • Proofread.
  • Short bullet points & pictures
  • Respond Promptly!
  • Don’t assume privacy.
  • Remember, less is more. – Make sure they can see the end of your email in their email inbox.

3) Phone calls:

  • Avg 1/year for each supporter.
  • Make a goal to call 1 supporter each weekend or 1 day a month to call multiple supporters.
  • Just enjoy them. Get to know them.

How-to?

  • Sunday afternoons are a good time.
  • Voice-mails can leave an impact, too.
  • Ask about families, jobs, and overall well-being.

4) Visits:

  • Minimum, every 2-3 years
  • Make the most of “off the field” times.
  • Supporters know that you’re busy, but many want to see you while you’re home.
  • Give an outline in your Newsletter of what cities you will be in and when before coming home from furlough.

How-to?

  • Bring a gift of appreciation.
  • Visits at home really communicate partnership to a supporter.
  • Set up a visit 1-2 weeks before you intend on getting together.

5) Gatherings:

  • Every 1-3 years
  • These include: Cookouts, Going Away Parties, your wedding, baby showers, birthday dinners, etc.
  • It is a great way to informally connect with many people on your team.

How-to?

  • Have a supporter host a dessert/coffee get-together in their home for a group of supporters.
  • Think for room set up, invitations, food, planning, etc.
  • Have plenty of informal catch-up time, but a consider having a small slice of formal time to communicate something collectively to your supporters (i.e picture slideshow, DVD of ministry, or answer questions).
  • Have an informative table w/ pictures, newsletters, business cards, support info, etc.

Social Media

Technology makes updating ridiculously convenient. Discover the top ways your supporters want to be updated. Use some, but not all of these options. Also, keep in mind that you may have a handful of supporters who do not own a computer or prefer a letter. Keep track of how often you are sending them updates via snail mail & thank you cards.

  1. Social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  2. Blogging/Twitter: Plan to update a blog bi-weekly. We use a video blog that combines YouTube & blogging along with our Twitter feed on the sidebar.
  3. Video: Vimeo Video, YouTube, etc.
  4. Email: Mail Chimp, Gmail
  5. Other: Text messaging,  Whatsapp (for international texting), Google Docs, Skype, FaceTime.

Giving Accountability

Raising support puts the support raiser in a sometimes awkward position. Finances are typically an area that is very private and thus a place many Christians are not being held accountable in. The nature of your job causes you to both be held accountable to your commitments and to hold them accountable to their financial commitments. So, I wanted to briefly address how to handle a situation where the supporter has not been giving as they have promised.

  1. Evaluate whether or not you have been faithful with your commitments to them. Does this person feel involved/cared for? I know of someone named “Melissa” who had been given a letter for support money from a relative who is a missionary. Melissa’s husband had recently passed away and she had not heard a word from the missionary about it. Melissa was so offended and hurt that she would remember to ask for money, but not remember to be with her in her mourning. I understand how it is hard to be faithful to so many people. But, I don’t blame Melissa for feeling this way either.
  2. If a month goes by and the supporter hasn’t given any or has given less than the promised amount I would just make a mental note of it.
  3. If a second month goes by, I would call him or her and genuinely ask how they are doing, remind them of their commitment, and ask if there is a way I can help them in meeting their goal. Also, I’d remind them of the importance of their giving and ask them to try and make up for the month(s) that they missed.
  4. Avoid having money-talks via text or email.

Remember, people want to give. Sometimes you will have to take a not-so-comfortable step to help them do this.

In conclusion, remember that you are called to cultivate your team. This requires diligence and work. However, I think you will find it incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, too! It is easier to keep a supporter than to get a new one!

~~~Which communication method is your strength? Which is your weakness? What needs to change in how you communicate and connect with your supporters?~~~

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Raising Financial Support for a Living: The Appointment, The BIG Ask, & Follow-Up Calls

October 5, 2012 2 comments

Okay, so you’ve gotten the right perspective about support raising & giving, you’ve written your letter (or received a letter), called (or have been called) and now it’s time for what you’ve been building up everything for: The Face-to-Face Meeting. Everything you have done has prepared you for this point. MAKE IT COUNT. This type of dedication is not just for the full-time missionary – students or people raising one-times gifts ought to apply a lot of this, too!

…side note: I feel weird posting these knowing that my supporters are reading it, too! Haha, I hope these posts show you how much we think about you as an individual and how greatly anyone you support desires your partnership!

Appointments= Sell Your Vision

Prepare well. Be professional. Be passionate. Hope this helps you do well with your meeting…

What to Bring:

  1. Presentation: We use a notebook that I made with PowerPoint. If you don’t like the notebook idea, you could use a website, video, or other form of presentation that clearly walks them through the Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How + images.
  2. Give-Away folder: You want to leave them with something! Our folder includes a pledge card with an addressed & stamped envelope, prayer requests, information sheet on Singapore, information sheet on the church we are serving, FAQ sheet, Newsletter, and work schedule. Lastly, we include this Getting to Know You Better sheet that they fill out and we keep for our records. We also use bright folders so that people don’t lose sight of it as easily (the theory is that they will remember us more too!).

This is usually what my Thursday’s before a support weekend look like:

First, I call or text to confirm our appointment. Then, I count how many people/families (not appointments!) we will  be meeting with. It can range from 3 people to 15 people in a given weekend. Then, I use my handy-dandy Target filing folder and see if I have enough of everything. If not, I easily see so and then go print out what I need (Usually, Kaitlyn in the CO office has me covered on all my copies though!!).

Then, I lay everything out like so…I suppose it’d be faster by laying them out on a table and walking around, but I like sitting in the floor (Just vacuum first!). Notice that I stamp the return envelopes for our pledge cards! Take little steps like this to serve them. They are serving you a lot!

And your final project should look something like this…Notice that to make it look more professional I try to keep a color scheme (Blues). I also face any images upward so that it looks nicer.

This is the presentation notebook that we use when we meet with people about Singapore…We include info about our job, our history w/discipleship, info about Singapore, our church, and a partnership page at the end. Keep it so that your presentation alone takes 10-30 minutes to go through.

Helpful Tips:

  • Focus on Individuals. Here’s a helpful article as to why, Churches or Individuals: Which Should You Focus On?
  • Block off 2 hour intervals for meetings (include travel time, etc)
  • Remember names & children
  • Excitement is contagious – people follow passionate people
  • Don’t get discouraged by questions – Inquiry means interest!
  • Sometimes the best answer is “I do not know, but will get back to you on that.”
  • Clearly ask for their commitment to partner with you.
  • Communicate thankfulness often
  • Send them a thank you card in the mail the day after you meet: This increases urgency and shows care.*Keep cards in your car and put it in the mailbox before even going inside your home!

***The Goal of this time, is a clear & confident “ASK”. That is why you are there. Do not leave the appointment until you have done so. ***

Therefore, the flow of conversation should move you to the reason you are there. If not, then transition by thanking them yourself. “Hey, thank you so much for being generous with your time and letting me come and share what God has called me to.” Share your presentation, and ask them something along the lines of (amount individually discerned), “Would you come on my support team with me at $100/month. How does that sound?” Then, shut your lips and wait for them to respond. It is so easy to panic at the silence and rush on to talking about something else. Don’t do that. Give them a moment to process your need and request. Hear what feedback they have for you first and then proceed to show them what they get to take home with them and that you’ll follow up with them in a week.

Scared of asking BIG? I recommend this article Asking BIG: Does it Offend or Affirm?.

The Big Ask & Extras:

  • Communicate your NEED and the DATE you are trusting God to meet! Be VERY clear with this.
  • When they start? ASAP. Have them support sooner than later (especially if you are raising monthly) so that you can build up for raising expenses, tickets, etc.
  • Ask them for referrals.
  • Give them a week to talk it over and pray if they are not sure about an amount by the end of the meeting.
  • Use Speaking opportunities as chances to get contacts, not supporters. (I suggest you have contact cards or a newsletter ready.)
  • Ask churches to come on at 15% of your budget.

***Refer to the first post in this series, https://therealcore.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/raising-financial-support-for-a-living-a-right-perspective/, under “Partnership” and see what commitments we ask of them and what commitments we promise them.

FAQ’s That You Should Know:

  1. What is my money going to pay for?
  2. Is it tax-deductible?
  3. How much do you need monthly?
  4. Is this a biblical method of support raising?
  5. Why are you asking for handout? Why don’t you get paid?
  6. How long is your commitment?
  7. Do you operate under the authority of a church?
  8. How do you differ from other ministries?
  9. If we miss a month of payments, will you have to go without?
  10. How will we keep in touch with you?

PURPOSE of Each Step:

Contact Letter= CALL

Phone Call = APPOINTMENT

Appointment= ASK

Follow-Up Phone Calls = Ask Them for a Decision

*It is your job to Initiate and their job to Respond.*

Do not let more than a week go by after an appointment before following up with a phone call. Ask, ” Has God given you clarity about joining my financial and prayer support team?” Walk through the process of mailing in the pledge card or making a donation online.

  • Do not leave messages, talk to people- keep calling.
  • Call people who have promised support, but haven’t actually pledged it. Simply ask, “Hey, I’ve just noticed that you haven’t pledged what you committed to. Would you like me to help walk you through how to donate online or is there a problem with the amount that we talked about?”

So many details, I know! But each person is worth every single step. After making all of these posts, I’m spotting all the ways that I don’t raise support well – But, at least I’m faithful with it! The final post I want to make for this series is on Support Preservation. Any requests for more posts on this series or future series?

~~~What has your experience in Support Meetings been like? What would you say are the top DO’s and DO NOT’s in a meeting??~~~

Raising Financial Support for a Living: The Letter & Phone Call

October 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Phew, we are pushing through this series. It’s been a good refresher for me. I’m actually learning a lot! Previously, I gave some pre-planning steps to take. Now, I want to give you some guidance in those first impressions with the Letter and Phone Call. Is this part of the process starting to be intimidating yet? If so, I hope this post relieves some fears.

So, you have already name-stormed and gotten contact info (i.e mailing address/phone #, etc) all written down. So, after this you need to write and begin sending out your contact letter.

Contact Letter = First Impression

When writing your letter use the guideline that I previously posted (or something similar).

Here’s some ideas for organizing the letter:

  1. Personal update: Important events such as graduation, work, engagement, etc.
  2. Introduce the ministry influence on you: mission statement, ways you’ve grown through it, etc.
  3. Inform them about the opportunity: describe ministry, benefits/God’s call.
  4. Invite them in:communicate your needs such as prayer & funds (clearly communicate your need for funds- do NOT surprise them with this!).

TIPS when making the letter:

  • Personalize it by writing in or typing their name in.
  • Include a professional picture of yourself.
  • Leave a handwritten P.S note directed to the individual.
  • Hand write the addresses on the envelopes.
  • Make sure they know that you will be contacting them soon.
  • Keep length within 1/2 -1 page.

REMEMBER:

  • Include prayer requests (if space permits)
  • Not all supporters will require a letter
  • Facebook message, text, or phone call may be best means for getting an appointment
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Have someone peer edit it.

***PURPOSE OF CONTACT LETTER: The Phone Call***

So, when determining how to write it, send it, and follow up. Remember that your goal with this letter is to call them.

Therefore, consider this pace:

  1. Send them out in groups of 10. (can you really follow up w/ more than 10 people at a time??)
  2. Start with your “Top-Ten List” (people that will give you confidence not discouragement! Start out strong)
  3. Send a new batch out after you have followed up with the first batch via a phone call.

The letter isn’t so bad, now is it? On to the Phone Call…

Phone Call = Get Them Face-to-Face

The follow up call after your letter is VERY important, but VERY hard. The purpose of this call is asking them for (1) a face to face appointment or  (2) informing them of the vision and inviting them to join your team (option #2 is only in rare cases such as distance!). In fact, even if we are not able to meet face-to-face Danny and I still use Skype or FaceTime to meet with potential supporters. I send them our presentation and give away sheets so that they can follow along as we share our vision.  Overall, make every effort to secure a time and place to share with them.

REMEMBER:

  • You are not asking for a commitment over the phone, but an opportunity to inform them further.
  • People are busy. Do not take their busyness to mean disinterest.
  • Be ready to offer 3 options for them to choose from.
  • Keep track of people and what progress you have made with them (how awful would it be to forget to call someone or to call them twice b/c you’ve forgotten!). *Disorganization is a sure-fire way to make people feel like a number…

TIPS:

  • Have a calendar and pen available & ready before calling.
  • Expect each appointment to last 30min-1 hour.
  • So, leave about a 2 hour window for each appointment in order to travel, gather yourself, and rest.

Prime Calling Times:

  • Mon-Thurs: 7-9pm
  • Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm

*** PURPOSE OF THE PHONE CALL: An Appointment***

Since you want a face-to-face meeting intend on your phone call looking something like this…

  1. Greeting: Catch up w/ them! I know you’re scared, but try and act normal.
  2. Transition: Well, eventually you gotta get to the point. Let’s face it, most people are probably wondering why you’re calling them (because you probably never have called before, or because they did get your letter and are just waiting for you to say something about it.)
  3. Ask for an Appointment: This is as simple as saying, “Did you get my letter?” (half of your potential sponsors probably haven’t gotten it, and over half will have a legitimate conflict with your first proposed date/time. This does not mean people don’t want to support you. Remember that they are busy. So, you have to be flexible and persistent at times.
  4. Confirm: Make sure you are both on the same page about when, where, and why.

Q&A:

  1. What should I do if I get their answering machine? Leave a short message, then call again in a couple of days.
  2. What if they do not want to meet? Do not let them make a giving commitment over the phone. The goal is a lasting partnership, so give every effort to meet anyways and explain why it would be such a valuable time for you both.
  3. What if they say they will get back to me? Respectfully, let them know that you will contact them in x days. People are busy and you are not their top priority even though they care about you and what you’re doing. So, be wise and keep the calling as your responsibility.

The phone call is without a doubt, the most frightening part of support raising for me. Those awkward moments when people get straight to the point or don’t call you back after you’ve called 3 times make me so insecure for some reason. But, I have never in the past 4 years of raising support had someone who intentionally tried to avoid me (at least, not to my knowledge).  ***If you have any questions or suggestions about the Letter and Phone call please comment! We can all learn from each other! Also, if there is something specific you want me to cover with the Appointment and overall cycle be sure to let me know! More posts coming soon!***

Raising Financial Support for a Living: The First Steps

October 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Pre-Planning is Important

Whether you are raising a one-time gift for a short-term trip or monthly for something more long-term, I believe these are the best first steps you could take.

1. Take a day of prayer and select a mission verse.

2. Complete/solidify this Calling worksheet and this Vision worksheet.

3. Determine your budget.

  • Your organization/financial adviser should be able to help you establish this.

4. Invite accountability partners.

5. Read Henri Nouwen’s Spirituality of Fundraising or Randy Alcorn’s Treasure Principle

6. Write your contact letter.

  • Here’s a Basic Contact Letter Outline.
  • This is NOT a Support Letter; you are NOT asking them to send a check or money! You are simply letting them know that you intend on contacting them soon!

7. Pick your method to manage all your contacts. (Excel, Goodgle docs,)

  • Here is a Copy of a Support Tracking Sheet. Remember to update this weekly.
  • Personally, I track on an Excel sheet similar to this one, but I keep supporter’s contact info in my email contacts too.

8. Name-storm

  • List 150-250 people that have taken an interest in your life. Use this Namestorming Worksheet  for help.
  • After you list everyone, then begin to find out how to contact them.

9. Stockpile stamps, envelopes, printer ink, addresses, paper, brochures, return envelopes, THANK YOU CARDS, and appointment folders

  • Do this before you send your first letter out!!! Also, maintain a bulk supply.
  • This will remove a lot of stress and will help you be faithful to your supporters.

10. Set support amount and fully funded deadline goal.

  • Join my team at $___/month….To get me on the mission field by __Date___.
  • It is very important that you are clear about this in your meeting!

I hope that this introduction to the How-To’s helps you! This was just meant to help you prepare for support raising. Did you find this post useful? Is there something specific about support raising that you want me to expand on in future posts?

The following posts will go into more detail of The Letter, The Phone Call, and of the Appointment.

Raising Financial Support for a Living: Principles for the Giver

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Hey ya’ll! I hope you’re enjoying this series. I know most summer mission trips wont start being organized for a few more months, but hopefully this series will be all the more useful for everyone then, too! So far, I’ve discussed having a Right Perspective as to why missionaries should raise support. I also wrote about principles the fundraiser should know. So today, I am focusing on the one being asked to give financially to a mission opportunity. I hope that these principles help you devote your gifts, money, and prayers cheerfully to others.

A great little book about the joy of giving!

1. God owns it all. (Romans 11:36)

Meaning, every single thing you own belongs to the Father. You can have freedom to let go and give when you look at every penny in your purse, lamp in your house, towel in the closet, and say, “My Father gave this to me…and this..and this..and this…”  The truth that God owns all of it should simply give you a spirit of thankfulness and generosity.

2. Giving may be your spiritual gift. (Romans 8:4-8)

We have one supporter on our team who owns an oil company. He believes that one of his spiritual gifts is giving. So, he still owns and runs it. If he quit giving, he would quit owning it and do something else. We also have another supporter who shared about how hard it is for him to make friendships with people. He still pursues relationships and evangelism, but he has chosen to be a giver to those who do have the gift of being relational. That is his way of building up the Body of Christ. Every Christian is called to give and be generous in their heart, but maybe He has designed you to be the example of giving.

3. Supporting a missionary protects you from idolatry. (Matthew 10:24)

I love Tim Keller’s book, “Counterfeit Gods”. His chapter on Greed destroyed me! In it he states that out of every sin, no one would ever really consider themselves as greedy. He said this is because we tend to only compare ourselves to people in our “bracket”. Of course I don’t look greedy compared to the person who buys the name brand everything. But, compared to just about anyone else in the world my standard of living is like royalty! Yet, I always want something better. Being a supporter of a missionary (1) keeps your vision worldwide and (2) challenges you to sacrifice your comfort. For example, you could give (let’s say) $75/month to a missionary, instead of it going toward a new bedroom set, nicer clothes, gadgets, and whatever else captures your eye. The big idea is that giving patterns your life to being Kingdom Focused (Matt. 6:33).

4. Giving is to be an act of worship. (2 Cor. 9:11)

Worship is primarily why giving protects and frees you from idolatry. This is why Danny and I break up our monthly tithe into fourths so that we can worship during the offering each week. As a supporter, your giving is enabling the gospel to advance. When your missionary shares about how God has changed them or the people they are ministering to you can rejoice too! You played a huge role in that! It is always worshipful to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Step out on faith and send a missionary  –  then, be prepared to worship.

5. It is an eternal investment! (Matthew 24:14)

Whether it is sending a team to Ecuador for 2 weeks, sending a student to a training conference,  sending a couple to Singapore ;-), or funding the distribution of Bibles – you are giving waaayyy more than x amount of money. Souls and God’s Word are eternal matters. You are affecting not just what you know of from a newsletter. You’re impacting generations of people that will come loonnggg after your life! How amazing is that?!

6. You’re offering more than green paper. (3 John 8)

Be active with your missionaries. They need you far beyond finances. They need your wisdom, your prayers, and communication. They need to know that you are with them and haven’t forgotten about them. It is so easy to feel forgotten about when you send mass updates out and 1/60 people reply.  It’s also hard to pray over someone that you never hear from. Please, give financially so that they can be sent. But, continue to give yourself to them so that they can have a continual support system. They don’t view you as an ATM, and so don’t act as one. You have such a vital role – I wish I could better express how important you are to them!

Clearly, I don’t aim for the standard 5 or 10 points. Six is sufficient :). My prayer is that if you are in a position to support a missionary these truths will come to your mind and help you in discerning all of the ways in which you can commit to them and thus commit to the Great Commission.

Watch this clip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4bGse2o3kY, about being a Go-er and a Send-er. Ironically, Piper uses the same verse that God wrecked me with in 2009 by calling me to reach the 10/40 window.

Coming Next: The How-To’s of Support Raising.

Raising Financial Support for a Living: Reminders for the Fundraiser

September 26, 2012 2 comments

This post is for the Supporter Raiser. I just wanted to list a few simple, but crucial reminders & principles. I really believe that if you take these to heart it will drastically change the way you approach fundraising.

Supporter Raiser Reminders:

1. You are more scared to ask for support than they are to give it!

ASK. ASK. ASK. ASK ANYONE. Don’t say “No.” for them by not asking.

2. Don’t insult them by asking low!

Give people the opportunity and the challenge to give generously. Ask for a specific amount. They are making an eternal investment! So, don’t shy away from asking for what you need. They want to help you!

3. You are rich, not poor!

Don’t be fooled by your income – you are the most wealthy person alive. Remember Christ “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…(Eph. 2)”

4. Assume that people want to give!

It is so easy to believe that people are avoiding you when they don’t call back. Believe what they tell you, not what you feel. Most people really do want to give in whatever way they can. Have patience, peace, and press on.

5. There is A LOT in common with Evangelism and Fundraising!

Both reveal fear. Involve face-to-face convos. Create a need. Paint a vision. Ask for a decision. And demands total allegiance to your worldview. While waiting to hit the mission field, remember that your quality of support raising will likely reveal your quality of evangelism.

6. You are raising Supporters – not just support!

Do your best to work a part-time job or not at all while you raise supporters. If you want to do it well, it will require loads of time. You have to be the one with a flexible schedule – not them. To raise support well, requires more than some letters and stamps. You have to be organized, goal-driven, and proactive. 60% of sponsors drop off the team because they feel like you don’t care about them. So, devote yourself to your team – it is your JOB to care for them. Shepherd them as would you shepherd those you are ministering to.

7. Accountability will affect your overall progress, attitude, and personal growth.

Don’t just title an Accountability Partner – DO ACCOUNTABILITY, weekly. There are 3 things you should do together: (1) Talk over numbers: # of letters, phone calls, meetings,pledges, $, etc. (2) Talk over your fears, anxieties, and struggles. Your partner needs to be available, not just for sympathy, but for truth and correction using God’s Word. (3) Lastly, you and your partner must be praying. ***Use this  Support Raising Evaluation.

We must view support raising as such a reward that to withhold it from potential partners is doing them a great disservice.
Refer to Philippians 4:17-18. Paul says, “I seek the profit that increases (the supporter’s) account…”

Raising Financial Support for a Living: A Right Perspective

September 21, 2012 2 comments

I am fully aware of how negligent I have been with my blog. Deepest apologies followers! Married life and transitioning to Singapore have kept me distracted.

Well, I know I started a different series, but I figure I have plenty of opportunities to write about college ministry. So, today I wanted to begin to give you the “backstage” view in raising financial support as a full-time job. Danny and I have been raising sponsors for Notebook & Biblemission trips for years, but this is our first time raising funds as our month-by-month income. In this post, I hope to just answer some of the “why” questions behind what we’re doing. In later posts, I’d like to give some important principles to remember for both the Supporter and Support Raiser. And lastly, I’d like to give a practical How-To post. 🙂 **A lot of my material comes from CO START (training conference), the Bible, books, and personal experience.

Misconceptions

1.  I’m not earning or deserving of this money.

2. It’s not biblical to raise support.

3. They don’t want to give.

4. I’m too busy and don’t have enough contacts

5. Support raising adds to the burdens of being a missionary.

Have you felt this way? Or have you viewed non-profits this way? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has struggled with viewing fundraising as a privilege. Yes, raising financial needs for the gospel is a privilege! I hope that this post enlightens us by looking at God’s Truth, the value of Partnership, and the role of Faith.

Biblical Basis

A passage Danny and I love to point supporters to is Philippians (which is btw, a support letter) 4:10-20.  Observe how Paul describes raising finances: (to list a few) v. 10 people are involved (concerned for Paul), v. he’s not needy, but content, v.15 there is a partnership, v.16 continued help for Paul’s needs, v17. he’s fully provided for, etc. This passage especially shows us that support giving is for God, Paul & the supporters themselves because it is a “sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God(v18-20).”

Other Biblical references: ( I’m excluding Tithing and General Giving just because I want to show that the Supporter and Supporter Raiser should know that specifically living off another person’s giving for the sake of advancing the gospel is biblical.)

Jesus lived on support (Luke 8:1-3) “…and many others, who provided for them out of their means”

Support lifestyle was commanded (Luke 10:7) “…for the laborer deserves his wages”

Disciples were sent to survive on generosity, not by begging (Luke 10:4-7).

…A somewhat common response to our way of living is: Why don’t you work a job? After all, Paul was a tent-maker.

3 Times Paul made tents: (1) In Corinth,  Acts 18:1-5. (2) Ephasus (Acts 20:33-34). (3) Thessolonica, 2 Thess 3:8-9.

I argue that Paul used working in the community as a way of outreach or in other situations he was not being provided for. He says that he had the right to, but choose not to (2 Thess. 3:10).

1 Corinthians 9 Paul gives an argument for minister’s living off of the giving of others. His points: One, that “those who proclaim the gospel shall make their living by the gospel.” (v11-12,14). Second, ministers deserve and should take delight in having needs met by support. (vs.10-12). And third, the Levites are the model for supported ministers. (vs.13).

Networking & Vision Casting

Something that I have learned over the years is that a Supporter Raiser has a large circle of friends, influence, and connections. Currently, Danny and I have at minimum 50 people on our team. It has been such a joy to meet face-to-face with each person and family. Each time we share at a church service, class, or with people individually we notice that both ourselves and the other party is encouraged and strengthened. At each meeting we give our presentation. We share about discipleship, its affect on our life, and our purpose for moving to Singapore. If we did not raise up a support team then we would miss out on knowing and being mutually encouraged by so many people.

Partnership is Personal

We have large variety of people on our team. Some people or are investors, parents, IT guys, teachers, pastors, missionaries, photographers, retired, videographers, students, and more. Some have a high income, some low. Some are from America, some are not. Each teammate has something to contribute to our mission. After each meeting we ask 3 commitments from people: (1) Financial commitment because “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (2) Wisdom and Involvement, because we will be far more effective in SG if we have a wisdom, skill, and resource base that is larger than the two of us. (3) Contacts, because we want to always branch out of our circles and invite more people into a partnership.

Not only does our supporter commit to us, but they can also expect certain things from us. Such things being: (1) Faithfulness to the mission. (2) Steadfast prayer for them. (3) Availability to them and their needs. (4) Regular Updates and Involvement. We have been convicted that we are called to shepherd our supporters just as much as we are to shepherd those that we are ministering to.

It really is a partnership. Without partnership loneliness will strike faster and harder than ever. Vision would leak. The number of people to rejoice with would be lessened. And we would overall be doing a disservice to the body of Christ.

Faith Building

Fundraising challenges and strengthens the faith of both the Giver and the Receiver. There are a number of people on our team who have given an amount that “hurts”, an amount that will cause them to trust the Lord. They’ve given an amount that will remind them to pray fervently for us. Danny and I keep a budget for Missions too. And I remember a time where we only had $16 for groceries (to last 2 weeks), but we gave $50 for a mission. It was a sacrifice, but it was worshipful! The Fund Raiser also experiences the privilege of stepping out on faith. When Danny took his discipleship group to Haiti they had 3 weeks to raise $6000.  Yet, by faith and faithfulness it all came in on time!!! A missionary must practice trusting the Lord, by trusting the promises of people. They are also continually reminded that they lack nothing in Christ! They are rich in the eyes of their Father!

So, you see, even if the church offered to pay our full income, we would still choose to raise some of the support.

My hope is that this post stirs you to give to missionaries and for missionaries to be proud to ask!

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What has been the most significant perspective change for you and why?

What was the most helpful truth learned about support raising?

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