Graciously Letting Underfunded Staff Go

  My friend Melissa has been homeschooling her ten-year-old son Ethan since he was five. This past school year was a rough one. Ethan is strong-willed, and he fought his mom at every turn about doing his schoolwork. Melissa, normally a calm, laid-back woman, found herself yelling at Ethan multiple times a day. The fighting wore her out, and she knew she wasn’t honoring God. She prayed, did some research, and came up with a new plan. If Ethan didn’t have all of his schoolwork done by 5pm on Friday, he would lose his screen time for the weekend. Brilliant! […]

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Saving Face: Asking in Shame-Based Cultures

“The real decision we have to make when confronted with cultural shame in support raising is this: are people’s opinions more important than Christ’s?”   “Tonight, I want all of you to call 10 of your closest friends, share about your situation and invite them to pray about giving to your outreach.” I vividly remember thinking my leader must be joking. Except he wasn’t. And that’s when I started freaking out. Is he serious? Does he know how awkward that is? What are they going to think of me? And what if they say no? If you come from a high-context, […]

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Painlessly Training Staff Online

Some people seem intimidated by the very concept of adult education. In reality, it’s not all that different from what most of us remember (or wish we had experienced) in our own childhood educational experiences. The main difference is now your students get the joy of balancing learning with raising kids, running a household and juggling a job. The natural reticence of adults to learn new things, plus the logistical challenges of training staff online, means as distance learning facilitator you act as motivational coach, content expert, and tech adviser. Reaching them is going to be a constant effort on […]

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Ditch the Fundraising Drudgery

You can set goals all day long, but if you don’t know where they are taking you—they are just chores. Drudgery. Items to check off an unending to-do list. And if you’re anything like me (and the rest of the Western world), we don’t need extra items there. As a fundraiser, it can be easy to think once you reach an initial financial goal your work is done, and naturally shift into maintenance mode. But that’s not the way it should be. You might be surprised to know, fundraising has little to do with money—and more to do with how […]

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Double Duty Fundraising

Raising personal support is its own brand of crazy, but raising your salary plus organizational funds is madness multiplied! If you are tasked with raising operational or special project funds in addition to your own salary, or you lead leaders who do, perhaps you have felt overwhelmed by this doubly daunting task. So how can you best help those fundraising leaders in your organization who are pulling double duty? First, encourage leaders that organizational support raising doesn’t detract from their personal support raising but instead often enhances it. It’s natural to think that approaching the same partners who make up […]

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Why a $10,000 Buffer Isn’t Enough

Being fully funded means more than just being at full monthly support. It also means having healthy and appropriate reserves. Why do we need a buffer, also known as reserves? Living paycheck to paycheck is stressful for families. Missionaries in cross-cultural and other settings face many stresses, and it’s best to avoid adding unnecessary financial stresses. Families need a buffer in their checking and savings accounts for their personal living expenses and to manage cash flow. They also need reserves with the organization in which they serve. How much does a missionary need as a buffer? $10,000? $20,000? It depends […]

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Practicing What You Preach

I was riding with my local campus minister and good friend “Mark” as he raced through traffic to beat the clock and pay his debts “just in time.” It was during this particular excursion that Mark inquired about my plausible future as a full-time minister. To the best of my ability as a student, I had carefully counted the cost of becoming a missionary and didn’t mind some of the more challenging aspects of ministry. It seemed par for the course to be ridiculed as a Christian or stood up now and then for Bible study or an evangelistic event. […]

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Using Texting as a Tool in the Support Raising Process

“Hey (potential ministry partner), I am excited about my new role with XYZ ministry! I’d love to get together with you soon to share my vision, budget goals, and how God is using this ministry to change lives. Could we maybe grab coffee next Thursday morning?” You hit send on your well-crafted text and wait for their reply. Crickets. Although texting seems to be a preferred method of communication these days, the majority of successful support raisers I have spoken with tend to avoid using texts to set appointments because of a high failure rate. There are a number of reasons […]

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Different Paths to a Common Destination

Imagine preparing to go on a trip. You open the map app on your smartphone and type in the address of your desired destination. Starting from your current location, you hit the directions button to see what options you have. As is often the case, two to three route options are presented. All of them will get you to the place you want to go, but you have a decision to make regarding which route to take. You choose the one that seems best, hit the go button, and the journey is mapped out. As you follow your chosen route, […]

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Rethinking Short-Term Mission Fundraising

“How would you like all of your new staff to be at 50% of their monthly support within the first 4 weeks of support raising?” That’s what one campus ministry leader asked me, who then went on to explain how they have seen this become a common trend. The reason was not their incredible training for new staff or wealthy networks; it started with how they lead students to raise short-term support for the summer project and mission trips. Over the past 20 years, the US has seen a surge in short-term missions, with millions of teenagers, students, and adults […]

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