by Doug Foltz
When I planted a church I was ready to take on the world. Then I started fundraising. I was awful at it. Fund raising is hard and something church planters are ill-equipped to accomplish. There are numerous ways church planters underestimate fundraising.
Poor planning. Church planters will make a list of contacts, send out a letter and wait for the money to pour in. That never works. NEVER!!! Fund raising is relational. A good fund raising plan includes letters, but it should also include personal visits, phone calls, follow up, etc.
Timing of funds. Most individuals can give today, but churches are different. They have lengthy support processes. They may not give you an answer soon and the money may come in later than you expect.
The importance of margin. Commitments do not equal cash in hand. You will have commitments made that won’t come. Allow for margin in your spending.
The effect of rejection. You have to have thick skin. You’ll leave messages and send emails that will go unanswered from friends. It’s easy to get a depressed over the rejection.
The spiritual impact on the giver. It’s easy to approach fund raising as if you are asking for a favor. You need to see it as if you are presenting the giver with an opportunity to partner with what God is doing. Your view strongly impacts how your ask comes across.
The stress of tight budgets. There will be times when you don’t know how the bills will be paid. Take it as an opportunity to grow closer to God. What we worry about reveals where we aren’t yet trusting Him.
There will be times when you don’t know how the bills will be paid. Take it as an opportunity to grow closer to God.
So, what can you do? Here are 7 ideas to make fund raising easier.
Be realistic Talk to other church planters about fund raising. Knowing what to expect will help.
Develop a plan. You wouldn’t show a video with poor quality during a worship service or print a bulletin with no images on it. Take pride in your plan and how it looks.
Don’t take no for an answer. Develop the attitude that no means not yet. Keep rephrasing the ask until they say yes.
Be relational. A letter alone is not relational. Neither is doing whatever it takes to get a check. Build a relationship that’s mutually beneficial.
Focus on getting early wins. Everyone likes to support a winning team. Get on the ground and start building a team. Early momentum will translate into more funds. Build your launch team, baptize people, serve the community, start house churches or small groups. Do something to get early wins.
Raise funds from your local team. 100% of the people on your team should be giving. It speaks volumes to potential supporters. The goal is to be self-supporting, so start laying the ground work now. A local team that gives well is worth much more than a supporting church.
Don’t give up. Persevere and be bold in your ask.