By on August 1, 2013   /   4 Comments

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 to add a trip or a new computer or send more mailings or scholarship staff—great! That adds to my effectiveness, but it means I need to add a few donors.
  • I must replace the one or two giving partners who stop or decrease each year. If more than two or three of your donors depart annually, review your donor ministry strategy! Something is wrong!
  • I am not good at fixing my roof in a rainstorm. When you are forced to do panic fundraising, you will take short cuts and do things in a hurry that you will regret later. I have coached hundreds of missionaries, and I have yet to see last-minute-panic fundraising do much lasting good.

Today, I am not as occupied in gaining new partners compared to when I was below budget, but I still invite people to join my team each year. They do not criticize me for asking them since I am up to budget! I emphasize my vision, not my “need.” I conclude with something like this in a face to face meeting:

“To accomplish all that God has called us to do we must stay fully funded. You have heard my vision story…may I ask you to pray about joining our team for $100-200 per month?”

Silence. It is their turn to talk.

Don’t wait until it is raining to repair your roof!

My goal is not to build a huge reserve but to accomplish all I can for the Kingdom this year. Hopefully your organization sets your budget under their control for stewardship and legal reasons. Aim for one-two months’ budget in reserve so that during low months you can call on that reserve. You are not fully funded until you have one-two months’ reserve—maybe more depending on your ministry.

Do you remember the story of the ten virgins in Matthew 25? The five wise virgins took along extra oil—they anticipated they could not guess the exact arrival time of the bridegroom! They were right. By contrast, the five foolish virgins naively assumed they could borrow at the last minute to find oil. It didn’t work. Similarly, what naïve assumptions are you making about the future of your fundraising?

Former US President Dwight Eisenhower is reported to have said: “What is urgent is seldom important. And what is important is seldom urgent.” Don’t wait until you are in an emergency to raise support. Don’t wait until it is raining to repair your roof!


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