Friday, June 12, 2020

Free thoughts on personal support raising

I've had many times I've sought to raise personal support over my life. Like most things in life, you don't really know it until you've done it. So here are some thoughts from practical experience.
  • The best way to ask people for financial support is specifically and in person. 
  • Raising money is not a zero-sum game. It is NOT a board game with a defined end and some weird "win" if you get to 100% of your goal by a deadline. We should raise money for what God is calling us to do now and at the same time take the long-term view. A "no" to your request today may turn into a "yes" in the future if you take this view.
  • That being said, sometimes you have specific deadlines and goals to meet. Be honest about them.
  • If someone already knows you, they probably believe in you more than in your specific ministry. Of course, they want to know that your work is legit, but it's more about the person you've shown yourself to be than any slick ministry plan. Sometimes an honest "I'm going to be figuring that out" is one of the best things you can say.
  • There's going to be a dip. Probably a big one. If you're not familiar with The Dip then Seth Godin's book by that title is a must read. A short summary: Anything worth doing will have a slog in the middle that's not very fun. We should expect it, lean into it and pray like crazy as we work through it.
  • Here's the trade: I'll give you 200% of your needed support for the rest of your career in a support-raising field. In return you may never contact any of your current or potential supporters again about anything. Would you take that trade? If you would, support-raising is definitely not for you. (This tip is from this Movements Podcast episode about support raising.)
  • Being good at raising funds doesn't make you a stellar Christian. You may not be walking closely with Jesus at all. Similarly, you might be horrible at fundraising. Which might mean God has a different plan for you, not that you're a failure as a follower of Jesus. (Check out this podcast episode with Dave Miller for how God used his poor support raising as a guide on his journey.)
If you want a great book on support raising, I would recommend The God Ask. If you want a lesser book (but free), I wrote this one.

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