Gods Perspective on Raising Funds
In a unique way, God has chosen to use young men and women throughout history as a driving force behind the expansion of His church. Many of the great awakenings or revivals of past centuries began as a result of students who gathered to pray. This eventually led to missionary expansion into many parts of the world, because, as students experienced personal and corporate spiritual renewal, they invariably came away with a burning desire to help evangelize the world in their generation.
One such student missionary expansion was the Student Volunteer Movement (SVM). A century ago, the SVM saw over 30,000 of Americas brightest students sail for international mission fields. Those who stayed behind were involved in the movements success through prayer and financial partnership.
The torch is now being passed to you and to a new generation of young people. You have accepted the challenge to help reach the world for Christ beginning with every teenager in your school and community.
One of your responsibilities in accepting this challenge is to present Christs cause (your ministry plan) to others. As "Christs ambassador" (2 Corinthians 5:20) you are in a unique position to invite others to invest in His cause. As you offer individuals the opportunity to join as prayer and financial partners, you give them the opportunity to invest in eternity.
King David gave Israel such an opportunity when he challenged the people to underwrite the cost of building a temple for the Lord. This is described in 1 Chronicles 29:14 where the people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David, the king, also rejoiced greatly.
"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand."
Because David knew that all the worlds wealth ultimately belonged to God, he boldly invited others to channel their resources toward building a physical testimony to the Lord a temple. As you develop a support team for your campus ministry, you will be channeling the resources of Gods people toward building a human testimony a witness for Christ on your campus.
As a representative (ambassador) of Jesus Christ to your campus, every training time, project and strategy you initiate to reach the students in your school is an opportunity to invite others to become ministry partners to see your dreams become reality. This is an important principle in expanding the ministry plan God has given you.
The information which follows here will give you the important points on how to share your vision with prospective ministry partners, invite them to sponsor you financially and get their decision.
The topics covered in this section include:
In order to develop a support team for your campus outreach, you need to follow the legal guidelines in your state, community and school. Please find a responsible adult or group of adult advisors to help you establish financial accountability and policies. Perhaps a church or other organization will partner with you on this. Or the project, strategy or training time (such as a conference) may have a sponsoring backer which will provide the legal financial accountability for your fund-raising. Most financial sponsors will want a tax-deductible receipt from a non-profit organization or a church.
This is a very important step to ensure your integrity. Be sure you have clear accountability in these financial areas.
1. Gods Promises
The promises that follow are backed by the character and authority of our all-knowing, all-powerful, unchanging God. Meditate upon and claim these while raising your funds.
1. The Lord will guide you and direct you (James 1:5).
2. He will give you what it takes to develop your support team (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
3. God not only gives you the desire to obey Him, but He also gives you the power to be obedient (Philippians 2:13).
4. He will make your time of support team development joyful (John 15:10-11).
5. He will protect you from Satans lies which might be "Youre a beggar," or "You arent good enough for Christian work" (1 John 5:18).
6. He will never let anything happen to you during your support team development time that isnt for your best (Romans 8:28).
7. He wont fail or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5).
8. He will give you faith to see your requests fulfilled (Luke 11:9-13, Mark 11:24).
9. He will smooth problem areas and prepare hearts (Psalm 139). For additional encouragement, read Psalm 37:23-26 in the Living Bible.
The most important thing you can do in raising your support is to pray. God is concerned about you and is able to meet your needs. He wants you to depend on Him. The next step after prayer is action. Developing a team of ministry partners is part of your leadership experience and takes a great deal of discipline and work. In the next few pages youll find many ideas on how to begin and follow through with the actual process of developing ministry partners.
2. Name Storming
The first step to take in raising your funds is to make an initial list of people you can invite to become involved in your endeavor; this is "namestorming." Remember, anything goes ... No name is disqualified.
Dont decide whether an individual will be interested or not. If you limit yourself to those you feel will or can give, you may be prematurely disqualifying those God may want to become sponsors. Later you will need to prioritize those you want to contact first, but for now, dont disqualify anyone!
First, see if your parents or the adult advisors you know would be willing to help. Then begin namestorming by associating various professions, businesses, and places with the names of friends and acquaintances.
(Be sure to check with your pastor and/or missions board before asking people who are involved at your church to be your ministry partners.)
Here are some categories to aid you in thinking of people:
After taking an hour or so of "Namestorming," label each contact either "T" for top priority, "M" of medium priority, or "L" for low priority. These designations refer to your evaluation of how likely they are to give.
3. Contact Cards
This portion will explain how to record the name, address and other information about each potential ministry partner on a contact card. These cards will help you to better manage the names and information of people youd like to invite to partner with you in your campus strategy.
1. Develop a format for your contact card and transfer the names from your list to the cards. Include the following information:
2. You will find it helpful to divide your contact cards into the following sections:
3. Begin contacting the top priority people first, then work through the medium, and finally the low priority people, using the "Write & Call Strategy" described below.
4. Keep the cards until your ministry partners have been thanked and you have reported the results of whatever you asked them to invest in.
4. Write & Call Strategy
This "Write & Call Strategy" describes how to develop ministry partners by writing letters and making phone calls. It has been said that 20% of your work is usually responsible for 80% of your results. This simple strategy represents that 20% when it comes to raising funds!
You can see a great deal of success by writing a personal letter presenting your needs and then making a phone call to ask potential sponsors to join your team. While it would be best to send a handwritten note to each contact, if you have a large amount of names (150 is a good goal), you may need to personally write to only your top priority group (25 to 50 people). Then you can type a general letter and have 125 copies printed to send to the rest of the people. You might consider having your letter word processed and personalized. The sample letter in this section is a model you can use as you write your letters. If you prefer to write one of your own, make sure you include information about yourself and the details for the "ask" you are making. Be sure to invite them to become involved financially.
What to Mail to Potential Sponsors:
1. Your letter
2. Information about the "ask" you are making
3. Self-addressed, stamped envelope (to make it easy for people to respond)
5. Making Phone Calls
The degree of your success in the letter-writing strategy depends on following up with a phone call. The follow-up phone call is critical for three reasons:
1. Most people suffer from "Information Overload." Consequently, mail is easily ignored or forgotten.
2. You have a lot of money to raise in a short period of time. A follow-up phone call will help you get decisions as quickly as possible.
3. Many people will want to help you but wont unless you call to answer questions and get their decision. Your phone call takes the burden of response off them and puts it on you.
Following is a sample conversation which you can follow when making your calls.
1. Introduce yourself.
"Hello, Mr./Mrs._____. This is ______ calling. How are you?"
Let the person respond. Take a few moments to establish rapport, but be brief.
2. Explain your ministry plans.
"As I mentioned in my letter, I am involved in developing a team on ministry partners to _____ (summarize the purpose of your "ask").
3. Share what you hope to see God do as a result of this.
4. Be very specific to ask for a definite response.
"In my letter, I mentioned that Im developing a team of ministry partners. I asked you to consider becoming a partner through giving financially. Would you like to be a part of my ministry team in this way?"
5. Let the person respond.
If your contact decides to become a partner:
Arrange a time to stop by and pick up his/her check. If he lives out of town, ask him/her to mail it in the self-addressed stamped envelope you enclosed with your letter.
Note: If you arrange to have your ministry partner send you a check and it doesnt come, you will need to follow up with a phone call. Give exact information about to whom the check should be made payable. If the check is made out incorrectly, return it to them for correction or replacement. After obtaining a persons decision, always ask him/her to refer you to other people who might like to invest. If your contact has not made a decision, set another time to call within a day or two. If your contact has decided not to become a partner, thank him/her for considering it. Always be courteous and polite.
6. Getting More Contacts
As you develop your team you can continue to add names to your list of potential partners by asking everyone you contact to give you names and telephone numbers of people they know that might be interested in your project.
Who to ask for additional contacts
Ask everyone you contact. Both those that join your team and those that are unable to join will want to help you complete your team.
When to ask for additional contacts
Dont ask anyone for contacts until they have made a decision about joining your team. If you dont wait, your request for referrals will distract them from making a decision. Ask for contacts at the time people give you their decision, even if they choose not to sponsor you. When you get a decision on the phone, ask for contacts before you complete the call with the partner.
How to ask for additional contacts
1. Get your pen or pencil out and be ready to write.
2. After obtaining a decision from an individual youve challenged to give financially, say:
"Mr./Mrs. ______, I need your help in still another way. You can help me complete my project team by giving me the names of other people that you know who want to see teenagers in our area reached for Christ."
Note: Do not say, "Do you know anyone" or "Can you tell me the names of ...," but rather say, "What are the names ..." and "I would like to know ..."
3. Often a partner will be willing to call the people whom he/she has referred. This will add to your credibility. If you sense that an individual may be willing to do this, ask if he/she would make some initial calls on your behalf.
7. Thank-You Notes
Send a thank-you note the same day you call for a decision. Be sure to keep a record of this on your contact card so youll know who you have thanked and to whom you still need to send a thank you note.
A thank-you note is an important part of developing a relationship with your partner. It should always be a personal, handwritten letter. Do not print or mimeograph a form letter. Always write something personal in your note to show specifically how you and Christs cause have benefited by their generosity. You will need to send every ministry partner a well-written thank-you note.
Sample Thank-You Note
Following is a sample of what to write in your thank-you notes.
Dear (Sponsors name),
(Include something personal first.)
Thank you for your decision to become a ministry partner. Your prayers and finances are greatly appreciated. Your investment will have far-reaching results as I (briefly state your reason for raising funds). Please join me in praying that God would continually deepen my commitment to the cause of Christ. Your prayers are most important. Thanks again for your generous partnership.
8. Processing Funds
You need to know how to properly handle the investment checks you receive. Lets suppose that you are beginning to receive checks from your sponsors who have agreed to be a part of your team. What now? Your job is only half over. In order to complete the process correctly and avoid any delay that might hinder your participation in the project, follow these steps very carefully.
Collect checks made payable to the church or organization sponsoring your "ask."
Ask your sponsor to make his or her check payable to this church or organization in order to receive a tax-deductible receipt. If someone wants to make it payable to you, be sure that he/she knows that no tax receipt will be issued. Be sure to ask for and follow the financial guidelines of your sponsoring group.
List all checks on your contact card record.