Last blog, we taught you how to gather all the right resources and prepare for the big and wonderful task of support raising. This blog, we are gonna dive in and get really practical in some fundraising strategies. Ready? Let’s do this.
The fundraising process can be broken up into 3 main steps, which we will cover here in this blog. By the end, you will have a complete map of how to get from having no supporters to having a community of people around you praying and giving towards what you are doing.
Here is, rather simply, the process of fundraising:
- Reach Out (Call)
- Follow Up
Sounds easy right? It actually is easier than you think. Let’s dive in…
Reaching Out (Call)
Ok, so you have your Namestorm list from last blog all prepped and ready to go with people you know well and don’t know well, you are now ready to get in touch with them! This step can seem daunting and in some ways can be the most challenging step but also is very vital to the success of your support raising. Just remember that you aren’t in this alone, and ask the Holy Spirit for courage to reach out to your list of people.
Let’s clarify something here: see the title of this section? You will notice that it says “call” in parenthesis. The main objective here is to call people. Calling means you pick up your phone, you dial their number, and you try and get them to pick up. Now some people might say, “Well that is so old school, haven’t you heard of things called texting, facebook or email?” Rubbish. Not that those things won’t work at all, but think about it this way. Say you had an emergency and had to get in touch with a family member. What would you do? Would you email them? Would you text them? Maybe shoot them a Facebook message? No! You would really need to get in touch with them so you would call them. Why? Calling is by far the most effective way of successfully getting in touch with someone.
Now, here is why I think this doesn’t happen more often in support raising: calling is just plain hard. It’s awkward and you can’t hide behind an email or a text or a letter. Those are far more comfortable means of getting in touch with people. But calling someone can be daunting and scary sometimes. But I promise you that it will get you the best response rate by a long shot.
So, now that I have belabored the point of needing to call people, let me give a funny statement: sometimes calling people isn’t the most successful means of getting in touch with people. Maybe you have a grandmother that doesn’t have a cell phone but she checks her email everyday. Maybe you have a distant friend that you don’t have a phone number for but you are Facebook friends with. Well, our main goal here is to reach people (crazy, right?), so whatever means you think would be best, let’s do that! So with each of your names on your list, ask the question, “What will be the most effective method of getting in touch with them?” but please don’t mistake that question for the easier question of “What will be the most comfortable method of getting in touch with them?”
Well, what do you say once you do get in touch with people? Let’s say you called someone and the phone rings… rings… rings…. “Hello?” Uh oh, now what? What do you say?
Well, you mainly want to do 3 main things:
- Introduce yourself (maybe they lost your number, or maybe it’s a friend of a friend)
- Explain why you are calling them
- Explain that you want to set up an appointment with them to talk more fully and invite them to join your support team
Couple notes here. Your main goal is not to give your presentation of your ministry, how much you are raising, etc, right here on the phone. People are often busy and don’t have the time to fully talk about those things, and it is also better to give them time to prepare for a conversation like that. So set up a time slot (30 min – 1 hour) where you can have a more in depth conversation with them about support raising. We will go over the appointment in the next section.
You also want to make sure you specifically say that you want to talk to them about joining your support team. Why? Well, money is a funny topic for most people, and it is always a honoring thing to mention that you want to discuss money and specifically ask for money when you have your appointment. This will keep people from getting offended by feeling blindsided by you suddenly asking about money.
If your contact is not in town, setting up either a phone call or a skype call works just as well! I generally shoot for a skype call if they are not close to me, since you have better communication by seeing them as opposed to just hearing them.
For more specific help, I have created a phone script that I will share in the “Resources” table at the bottom of this blog.
The next step after calling and getting an appointment set up with someone is to actually have an appointment with them! Weird, right? It’s usually good to have this at a neutral location that will be comfortable for both of you. I typically have mine at Starbucks or Chipotle (since Chipotle is clearly God’s gift to our culinary world, let’s be real here), that is unless I am having the appointment over the phone or over skype.
It is a good idea to show up early for the appointment to show them that you take this very seriously. This is especially the case if you are younger; you want present yourself professionally to show that they will be investing in someone who takes their ministry seriously.
You can prepare by bringing pictures with you of the ministry you will be doing, or maybe a report on what your organization has done over the last year. Having presentation items is helpful, though not necessary. They mainly want to connect with you and hear about why you are doing what you do.
So now that you have them sitting down and listening to you, you have the stage and can share your heart with them without feeling the pressure of time or inconvenience.
Well, now that you have their attention, what do you say? Here is a helpful road map of how to navigate the appointment…
- Catch up!
- You either are close with them and love talking with them, haven’t seen them in a while, or don’t know too much about them. Whatever the situation, take the time to get to know them better and how they are doing. This is such a good time to encourage people and speak life into them. Catch up with them and let them catch up with how you are doing as well!
- The Transition
- So obviously you aren’t just here to talk about how the wife and kids are, you do have an agenda. So after what you feel is an appropriate amount of time, steer the conversation towards support raising. I generally will ask a question like, “Well, do you mind if I jump in and talk about YWAM now?” They obviously know why you are sitting down together since you let them know on the phone what you wanted to talk with them about, so they will most likely be expecting this transition.
- My Organization/My Story
- The first thing to talk about with them is your organization. Doing ministry with YWAM? Talk about the legacy of YWAM and how long they have been around. Talk about the base you are a part of and the impact it is making around the world. This also would be a good time to share any important parts of how you were lead to this specific ministry to begin working with them. How did God lead you specifically towards doing what you will be doing?
- Talk about what you will be doing within the ministry. Leading a team of students overseas to Turkey? Training students in evangelism as they head to an unreached people group? Running the media department that reaches out to mobilize people towards ministry? Share with them what you will be doing and why you are excited to be doing what you will be doing!
- Support Raising
- They obviously know you are doing support raising, but it’s always helpful to give some context. I generally say something to the effect of “At YWAM they believe in the biblical concept of support raising and require that all their staff members raise their own support.” Even if you are raising money for just a one-off mission trip, you can still explain why you are support raising for that trip. This way they know some background of why you are support raising.
- Your Budget
- If you are going on a missions trip, your sending church or organization will have your trip cost laid out for you that you can present. But if you are more long term, you will also have your numbers from the support budget we set up last blog that you can present as well. During this time I generally say something to the effect of, “As I [insert what you will be doing here], I am looking to raise $3,000 in monthly support (or one-time if you are going on a trip) to cover my personal expenses as well as ministry expenses.” If you are raising monthly support AND one time donations, I would present both numbers.
- The ASK
- Ok, so this is maybe the most crucial part of the appointment section and it is important to get right. I mainly say this because it is very easy to either skip this portion entirely or do it half-way. Let’s be real, asking people for money is difficult. But once we are convinced that this is God’s plan and He is with us (remember from our biblical foundations blog?), this part becomes easier.
- So when asking you need to make sure you do a couple things. First, ask them very directly for money. Don’t hint at it, don’t say “If you feel led to…”, just ASK! I generally say something like this, “I was wondering if you would consider joining my support team by giving $50 per month.”
- You will notice I asked for a specific amount. I generally do this, though not every time. I think it is a helpful thing to do so that people can gauge what you are asking for exactly. I often will pray about a number ahead of time and come with something I feel God put on my heart.
- Shut Up And Listen
- As soon as you ask them to consider giving, ZIP YOUR LIP. It is so easy to take back the great direct ask you just did by feebly saying something like, “Well, that is, if you feel led to, or if you feel like it.” You are a good investment. God has called you, equipped you by His Spirit and grace, and you have momentum towards His vision. Giving towards you is definitely worthwhile. So act like it! Be confident. So when you ask, let it remain out there on the table as direct as possible. This will take courage, but is very important.
- This will also give them time to let you know what they are thinking. They might already be ready to give. I have had people give on the spot before. But most importantly, this will give you a good gauge of what to do next with them. Are they able to give right now? Do they want to pray about it? Do they think they will probably be able to give in a month?
- Prepare For Follow Up
- Most likely the people you meet with will need some time to decide about what you are presenting to them. They need to talk with they wife, or look at their budget, or both! That is to be expected. So always, always, always, make a plan coming out of your meeting with them so that you can follow up well with them. If they haven’t flat out said no, ask them if you can give them another call in a week to check back in and see if they have made a decision. I cannot tell you how many people I have seen falter here. They do an amazing job sharing and asking, but then just expect that person to follow up with them instead of the other way around. In support raising, a good rule of thumb is to try and always keep the ball in court when it comes to make communication happen.
This step is super important, as I mentioned earlier. You always want to keep the ball in your court when it comes to communication, so make sure that you follow up with your contact one the appropriate day that you set up with them during the appointment.
Sometimes this takes a couple conversations as they often can get confused about how to donate, or how to sign up for your newsletter, etc. That’s alright though, it is well worth it!
Below in the “Resources” table, you can check out a phone script I wrote for this step if you feel lost on what to say.
That’s A Wrap!
Once you have done all those steps with your name from your Namestorming list, you have successfully walked them all the way through the support raising process! Way to go! Next step? Take your next name and DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!
It might sound like a lot of work, but honestly it becomes easier as you practice. But also don’t forget that God is moving ahead of you and moving on people’s hearts in ways you cannot. So take the time during this season to lean into Him and learn the beautiful practice of living in peaceful dependence on God. He has the faith, hope and love that you need for all of this and more!
Not only that, but what better way to start your ministry than to walk in with stories of God’s faithfulness in support raising! These testimonies become pools of peace that you can remember and come back to when you are in need of His faithfulness in other seasons of your life as well.
Below I have attached a phone script for Reaching Out and Following Up in case you need help knowing what to say.
But besides that, you are ready to begin support raising! God is with You and will display His extravagant love towards you as He walks with you in this. May His blessing and love cover you during this precious time.