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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Three Comfortable Phrases Reveal Faulty Thinking About Fundraising

Over the years, I’ve heard these three mantras about fundraising. They sound logical, but faulty thinking lies below the surface. 1. “We’re comfortable at 80% aren’t we honey?” This statement is always made by husbands—never by wives! I met a missionary recently who said, “We simply minister to people and they eventually start giving. We don’t ask.” I replied, “So it is working well.” “Yes it is, God is taking care of us,” he said proudly. “You must be up to budget then.” “No, we are at 80%,” he said. I looked at him for a few seconds. His eyes […]

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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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Shad-o-nomics 101: My Six-Step Homemade Plan to Get to Full Support

Growing up as the son of a businessman in Dallas, Texas, had its advantages and disadvantages. Because Dad had lived through the depression years, he instilled his “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” perspective into his three sons—of which I was the middle. Work hard, provide for your family, get to the top, and retire early were the values he spoke of and modeled to us. My two brothers majored in business with the goal of becoming millionaires by age 30. I was expected to follow suit into the work world to obtain the “American Dream” and the accompanying financial […]

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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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How Your Giving and Debt Affects Your Support Raising

Sometimes raising more support will not solve a financial problem. Why? Because more funding cannot solve poor stewardship. Imagine sitting down with your support raising coach and after some pleasantries, your coach asks two penetrating questions. “How’s your giving, and how’s your debt?” Ouch! Are those questions too invasive for a coach to ask? Not at all. It may be uncomfortable asking these questions, but it doesn’t mean that they should not be asked! We’re training our support coaches that stewardship and support raising are connected at the hip. Not only are we to equip our staff with the skills […]

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Fundraising Pressure & Baseball Per Diem?

Lately, I’m hearing comments like these from mission staff of several organizations: “Fundraising appointments make me feel uncomfortable—especially phoning.” “If only I didn’t have to raise so much money…I didn’t sign up for this!” “I minister 60 hours per week and now the pressure of fundraising on top of it—can’t be done!” “Why can’t I be centrally funded from our main office? Then I could focus on the ministry.” So I decided to ponder the issue of fundraising pressure over lunch at a fine McDonalds restaurant. I sat in a corner booth with my “healthy fish sandwich special” and asked […]

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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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Keeping Givers Giving

During my early years with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), I joined a team in Mexico City passing out Bibles door-to-door. I was also asked to teach support raising to a group of missionary trainees from Guatemala – a country with very limited financial resources. Yet I believed that if God’s principles were true, then they were true worldwide, in all societies, among all peoples, in all economic situations. But those convictions were about to be tested! So I asked God, “What is the key to support raising that applies to all people?” A word came immediately to my mind: […]

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What Wives Wish Support Raisers Knew About Them

I have learned some hard lessons in my life, but sometimes I’m so oblivious to them they have to “knock me upside the head”—as we say in Arkansas! Even though I’ve been married almost 28 years, have two grown daughters, and work around women on a daily basis, the female gender is still a complete mystery to me! Consequently, one of the more painful messages to finally seep into my little brain is just how critical wives are to the success of our support raising. You see, in my typically-male, laser-focused, one-track mind (which of course, always thinks it’s right!), […]

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