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

By on September 1, 2011   /   Leave a comment

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 long enough, meet enough people, build enough relationships, and chances are a number of them will end up being potential major investors in you and your ministry! Some people claim the reason I have major donors (and they don’t) is because I know a lot of rich people. NO! It’s just that I have spent a lifetime loving, serving, and reaching out to all kinds of folks—even rich ones!

After reading James 2:1-10, I don’t want to give an ungodly preference to wealthy people, but let’s admit it—most of them are a different breed, and we better recognize it if we’re going to connect them and their resources to completing the Great Commission. Many of them think, talk, and act in ways we mere mortals struggle to understand! Even so, consider these tips:

1. They will probably want to give annually or sporadically. As much as you ask them to join your monthly team, most don’t want to fool with regular bank drafts or check writing, but would rather commit a large annual amount to you.

2. Present a “ministry project” to them. They’re used to having business people lay “investment opportunities” in front of them—like constructing condominiums or some hot stock. It will be refreshing for them to see a one-pager from you where their resources can finally be channeled toward a “Kingdom Initiative” with eternal dividends!

3. Their first large gift may just be to “test the waters.” They want to see what you will do with the gift, when and how you thank them, and what kind of reporting back you will do in the months to come. They’re looking for an excellent ROI (Return on Investment), and if they feel good about you, your work, and how you’ve treated them, there will probably be more large gifts coming your way. If not, that first-time gift will truly be the infamous “one-time” gift!

4. Cultivate them to join an annual “anchor donor” team. If they’ve given a 1K or 2K gift in the past, why not ask them to be part of a new five-couple team you’re forming who each commit at least $2500 a year to you? Higher single gifts might warrant you creating a 5K (or 10K+) annual anchor donor team.

5. Appreciate, inform, and involve them in your life and ministry. I understand not all of them will want to be your best bud and take family vacations together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t thank and pray for them, and attempt to grow your friendship. Yes, they’re busy (and can be aloof), but deep down, they respect you, and secretly find great joy in partnering with someone who truly has vision and passion for the things that really count in this world.

Ask God to give you the boldness to “win” them to your team, for the care and concern to “keep” them on your team, and the creativity and persistence to gradually “lift” them to give more and more as your ministry vision grows.


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