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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DEVELOPING AN “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE”

I keep bumping into people and circumstances that remind me of this greatly overlooked and misunderstood critical piece in the support raising “puzzle”. I’m talking about thankfulness. Without growing in our understanding and discipline of expressing thanks to donors, we will not have the support we need, both in prayer and finances. If we handle the little things well, Jesus will entrust to us more (Matthew 25). This applies to how we handle donations to our ministry. If we’re faithful with the little things, like a simple thank you to our donors, more will be given to us. If we […]

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Commending and Sending: The Role of Advocates in Support Team Development

A powerful scriptural principle linked to missionaries being “sent” is that of commendation: “Let other people praise you–even strangers; never do it yourself” (Prov. 27:2, Good News). “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (2 Cor. 10:18). “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (2 Cor. 13:1). It can be a dilemma for us to describe our missionary service to others, often putting us in the uncomfortable position of “commending” ourselves. We may feel as though we must sell ourselves and our […]

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We Give Thanks…

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18-19, NLT). With Thanksgiving Day at the end of this month, it’s a great reminder about the significance of expressing thanks in our ministry. First of all, we give thanks to the Lord, the One who calls us, comforts us, equips us, provides for us, and propels us into His work…what a privilege! We also give thanks to those people He has brought into our lives to partner with us in the Great Commission, sharing His love, doing His will. In […]

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A Ministry Partner’s Perspective: “Why We Give… and Keep On Giving”

A missions pastor recently challenged me to consider the perspective of those on the “outside” of our ministries, i.e. those who financially support us. Even though my wife and I have been giving to missionaries our entire married life (as well as living/ministering on support) this pastor exposed issues we had never considered. So, let me remove my support raising hat and put on my ministry partner hat and share four reasons why I would want to support you…and keep on supporting you: 1. You cared enough to step out in faith and ask us.  Just as the #1 reason […]

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Visiting Your Supporters

“…out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.” (1 Thess. 2:17) I’m about to embark on a road trip across the northwestern U.S., during which, I’ll visit ministry partners I have not seen in many years due to my need to help my elderly mom. She recently passed on into Jesus’ arms and we’ll bury her ashes in the family plot in Idaho. I’ll then hit the road to re-connect with many people, including wonderful ministry partners/friends. Along with mourning the loss of my mom on earth, as well as celebrating her passing into glory, I […]

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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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‘Tis the Season…For Giving!

Giving appropriate gifts is a wonderful, tangible expression of generosity, love, and the desire to bless others. Proverbs 18:16 says, “Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!” (NLT) Any time is a right time to send a gift, especially when the Lord gives us a nudge. But it is especially timely at Christmas…’tis the season for giving! Each year, I ask the Lord for guidance about Christmas gifts for my friends who support my ministry. I watch for appropriate items that my mission organization sells and select different gifts each year. I often put together […]

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Major Donors: How to Win, Keep, and Lift Them

Ministry is all about relationships. Right? If so, I’m hoping you have been, are, and will be building loads of great relationships—with all kinds of people. Reach out to those in the various schools, neighborhoods, churches, and communities you’ve been a part of. Like Paul’s commitment to “become all things to all men,” learn how to build a relational bridge to people of different faiths, races, personalities, and socio-economic levels. One reason to do this is because you never know who is going to end up earning/possessing significant resources that could be invested in the Kingdom. In other words, live […]

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Do’s and Don’ts of Using Social Media in Support Raising

Email, Websites, Cell Phones, My Space, Facebook, Texting, YouTube, Blogging, Skyping, Tweeting, Smart Phones, Linked In, Mail Chimp, etc, etc…Where does it end? Where are we going? How can I possibly keep up? It can seem like a runaway freight train overloaded with complex technology! If you are hanging on for dear life when it comes to understanding (much less using!) all the social media options available to us, you’re not alone. Yes, those of you under 25 might feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store, but the rest of us old timers may liken it more to […]

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