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Personal Support Raising: A Case Study in Risk & Sacrifice

In the winter of 1864, Lt. George E. Dixon was only 24 years old when he convinced Confederate General Pierre Beauregard to let him try one more time to use the newly-designed Hunley submarine to try to take out one of the huge Union warships camped out in the Charleston Harbor that was choking off much of the South’s essential  supplies. Tragically, there had been two previous failed launches where both crews of eight drowned while testing out the tiny iron sub. Even though the General was very skeptical about survival (much less success), he gave in to the persistent […]

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The Art (and Skill) of Expressing Thanks

One of the most overlooked aspects of support raising is that of giving thanks, not only to the Lord, the giver of all good gifts, but also to those who partner with us in ministry. Communicating appreciation is essential in our relationship with God and is also a primary way of nurturing supporters. It needs special priority in our ministry.  inadequate response for gifts may be a hindrance in relationships between ministry workers and their supporters. It seems to be a common human trait for us missionaries to fail to say thanks either because of forgetfulness or being too busy […]

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Deepening the Connection: Ways to Draw Your Partners Into Ministry

Raising support means we trust God to bring people into our lives and ministries as part of His provision. Thus, integrity and good stewardship requires us to view our supporters not as donors, but as full-fledged partners in the ministry – we can’t do it without them! So how do we help those who say, “Yes!” to partnering with us, get involved in what God is doing beyond just their pocketbook? This unfolding of a “whole-life stewardship” seeks to involve their time and talent – not just their treasure! Three simple words can outline your efforts in this arena: Pray, […]

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The Folly of “Hint-Hint” Support Raising

A Christian worker carefully crafts an email or newsletter that hints at what they need. They might choose their wording such  that it sends a subliminal message to their readers. Some brazen missionaries don’t beat around the bush and come across as outright beggars! And, of course, the innocent victims of these appeals are hard-working income earners who are supposed to have pity on these underpaid and underprovided Christian workers. Their sympathy and guilt causes them to reach into their pocket and make a charitable donation. See if you can match the bold/underlined words above with their proper definition below: […]

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Don’t Beat Around the Bush

I asked a good friend of mine who has been one of our long-time financial partners, “When we have a financial need, how would you like us to approach you?” His response, “Just ask me.” This is profound. People do not want us to be circumspect when it comes to asking for support. If you have an “inner” resistance to asking people to give, it is critical to be honest with yourself about what is causing that resistance. Is it a fear that you are manipulating people to do something they really don’t want to do? Do you feel you […]

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What Do You Do After a First Gift?

Think back to the last time you sent a gift for a missionary that you had never supported before. Remember? How did they respond to you? Missionary responses to first-time gifts often fall into these categories. You get: Nothing, did they get the gift? The missionary’s newsletter A warm phone call A handwritten expression of thanks An email, text, or facebook thanks A thank you note handwritten in their next newsletter Which do you prefer? Alma and I have sent lots of first-time gifts to missionaries, and often we hear little in response. The only reason we know they got […]

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Successful Support Raising: Is it About Character or Gifting?

Straight from the annals of Diary of a Wimpy Support Raiser come these pitiful excuses: “Shadrach, the reason I am not able to raise a lot of support—but you are—is because… “You are gifted to do so” “You have an outgoing personality” “You have a lot of wealthy friends” “You have a ‘cutting edge’ ministry position” Bull hockey! Thanks for allowing me a moment of crudeness as I debunk those four mythical statements. For the record: 1. There is no spiritual gift of fundraising. Please get that out of your mind. It is a decision of the will. 2. Actually, […]

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How Men Vs. Women Raise Support: Five Differences

Venus—Mars, Oil—Water, Dogs—Cats: What other metaphors can I draw upon to demonstrate there are fundamental differences between men and women? Even though our culture is desperately trying to blur, if not erase, the lines between the two sexes and create a “genderless” society, let’s admit it: GOD MADE US DIFFERENT! It’s a beautiful and harmonizing diversity, though, not to be denied or exploited, but to be understood and appreciated. Consequently, the passages and principles may be the same, but how men and women go about raising their personal support has some wide variances. So, instead of me just “sharing” my […]

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My Top Five All-Time Supporters

1. Mr. and Mrs. “Out on a Limb” The Randall’s could tell I was impulsive and highly excitable when they met me as a counselor at a boys camp. Later, when I went to this mature, godly couple to explain my new ministry to college students and ask them to give, I’m sure they detected how many holes there were in my half-baked plans, inflated goals, and unrealistic budget. But, in spite of my inexperience and “over the top” salesmanship, they quietly handed me a significant check to help launch my ministry. They went out on a limb and took […]

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Support Raising Dropouts: Five Who Gave Up

Whether it’s a long distance race or the support raising journey, it’s exciting, fun, even glamorous to blast off at the sound of the starting gun, but incredibly challenging to stay focused and endure all the way to the finish line. The kind of grueling perseverance required to complete the task reminds me of Walt Henrichsen, an old Navigator and hero of mine, who would issue us a discipleship challenge: “Men, many aspire…but few attain!” Here are the short stories of five individuals who, though well intentioned, apparently did not truly count the cost: 1. Bart: Being a prominent athlete, […]

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