HOW YOU SAY IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT YOU SAY

Men, do you remember what it was like to ask that young woman out on your first date? How did it feel—terrifying, heart-thudding, and pulse-pounding? If you could go back in time to watch a video of what you said and how it sounded, would you want a “redo”? To ask someone out on a date may not be the same as asking someone to support your ministry, but there is a principle to learn. How you say is just as important as what you say. “Jim” (not his real name), a ministry leader, asked some friends if he could […]

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FIVE REASONS WHY DEADLINES ARE YOUR FRIENDS

On Jan. 25, 2006, a giant pile of dirt was stacked up next to Razorback Road by the University of Arkansas. The local paper reported they were about to start building the largest outdoor track facility anywhere in the country. The athletic director at the time, the legendary Frank Broyles, promised it would be complete for the conference outdoor track championships that had already been scheduled for May 11—by faith! Broyles was boldly quoted: “It will be ready—period. There is no doubt about that.” Reading that, I laughed out loud and spouted, “You gotta’ be kidding. Absolutely NO WAY!” Broyles […]

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SIX HAZARDOUS PHRASES TO AVOID DURING THE ASK

In the nervousness of a fundraising appointment, do un-helpful words pop out of your mouth? At the risk of being legalistic, may I be painfully specific? The guideline: “Be sensitive yet bold in your financial presentation!” sounds great. But what does that mean? Here are six phrases to avoid. Fasten your seatbelt! 1. “Will you give to me?” “Give to me” is a first cousin of begging. Help donors understand they give to the Kingdom—vertically—not to bail you out horizontally. Ask your friends to support the Kingdom of God—specifically the Kingdom work God has assigned you. Find your own words, […]

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RAISING PERSONAL SUPPORT DOESN’T WORK?

A few weeks ago a ministry leader told me, “Raising personal support doesn’t work except in the upper-middle class among white evangelicals with disposable income.” More and more voices agree. The criticism is: You must have a large personal network. People in your network must have a heart for ministry, high disposable income, and understand monthly giving. It takes too much time. A nationally known pastor told me, “It is too bad you Navigators have to spend so much time in fundraising rather than ministry.” Personal support aligns donors to the missionary rather than the organization. I hear these criticisms. […]

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17 YEARS IN BONDAGE: ONE MAN’S JOURNEY TO SUPPORT RAISING FREEDOM

Allen took a deep breath, nervously stood up in front of the entire ministry staff, and made a bold proclamation. Looking up to God, then at his surprised wife at his side, and finally at the 250 other eyeballs staring at him, he cried out, “I have been underfunded and limping along for 17 years. I’m so sorry. I make a covenant today, once and for all, to God, my wife and kids, and to all of you. I take total responsibility for getting my family and ministry to full budget—and staying there the rest of our lives!” But before […]

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LEVERAGE YOUR MINISTRY FOR KINGDOM IMPACT

Bryan works for a large mission organization and spends some of his days in a small dark room making copies of DVD’s. Imagine Bryan on a support appointment: Prospective partner: Bryan, tell me what you do in your ministry. Bryan: I sit in a small dark room and make DVD’s for Jesus. Prospective partner: Hmm, I see. Bryan: Would you support my ministry? It is not hard to imagine the outcome of that conversation. The odds of this person joining Bryan’s ministry are pretty slim. However, imagine if Bryan’s conversation went something like this: Prospective partner: Bryan, tell me what […]

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THREE THINGS YOUR DONORS WON’T TELL YOU

1. I wish you were a better writer (i.e. I don’t read your letters much). When I see your newsletter in the pile on the kitchen counter I cringe. As your giving partner I should be thrilled to read your letter, but I know from experience it’s like wading through wintry slush. Often, I barely browse through them. Sorry. Why? Here’s a list of reasons I wouldn’t tell you either, but since you asked: You use names of people I don’t know or care about. You summarize your schedule rather than telling me about changed lives. Your letters are more […]

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DO FUNDRAISING BEFORE YOU NEED TO!

When people find out I have been up to budget for 30 years, they ask, “Do you still do fundraising even though you are up to budget?” The question is similar to, “Why fix the roof if it is not raining?” Yes, I still invite support even though I am fully funded—four reasons: My budget goes up every year. Our Board of Directors insists we have adequate living expenses. I identify special projects each year to advance my ministry even more. I don’t aim for a “low budget” just so I won’t have to raise new support. If I need […]

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Five Character Flaws That Sabotage Our Support Raising

I like to think of myself as a positive person, cheering on everyone I cross paths with. But today, we need some “tough love” (me included!) for us who call ourselves full-time Christian workers. Yes, there are many exceptions, but let’s be honest, in many circles, our reputation stinks. And if the world (or the Church!) views us negatively, we have no one to blame but ourselves. So, sit down, take a stiff swig of a 5 Hour Energy Drink, and let me perform a much-needed “intervention” to help us truly face reality. These five flaws in our character desperately need to be […]

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Writing Prayer Letters That People Want to Read

On a visit with Herb and Sandy, one of my first ministry partners, Herb pulled out a neat stack of prayer letters and thank-you notes from the last ten years. Sandy said, “He has all of them.” Today that comes to over 38 years of letters and notes we wrote them! Herb stumped me when he referred to something I specifically wrote some time ago. After he prompted me, I finally remembered! Is the hard copy prayer letter dead? Brian Barela, Campus Crusade’s Director of Digital Media, is an advocate for the right use of social media when communicating with […]

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    Raising support in isolation nearly devoured our staff.  In late 2014, I found myself hitting roadblock after roadblock coaching new, often...
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