SRS training and resources change the ethos of TeachBeyond’s culture and lead to more fully funded staff

By on December 11, 2018   /   Leave a comment

When Callie Buchholtz joined TeachBeyond to go to Germany as a Resident Assistant, she had no idea God would use her to transform the ministry’s entire support raising culture. The daughter of missionaries, she quickly raised her full monthly salary and launch fund, with the confidence God provides financially. “My reality is one that God provides,” she says. “That was just a fact.”

But once she got to the field, she realized her assumption was not shared by the majority of her coworkers. Buchholtz met colleagues in Germany who had never been fully funded. Many of these teachers spent their summers furiously raising support to get them through the next school year, only to return to the field mentally exhausted, lacking energy to devote to ministry. Some were in debt, many were experiencing stress and burnout, and others had to return home.

Buchholtz found that staff across the board were limiting their calling based on their struggle to get funding, and were unable to fully commit to future ministry for fear their support wouldn’t come in. When she brought this to the attention of leadership, she discovered the reason: TeachBeyond’s rapid growth in field staff had outpaced the capabilities of its ministry partnership development team. The leaders offered Buchholtz a new position as coordinator of ministry partnership development.

Despite feeling overwhelmed and underprepared, Buchholtz dove right in and began researching and compiling support raising resources to build TeachBeyond’s MPD department. After reviewing The God Ask and attending a public SRS Bootcamp, she was confident this was the type of professional training she wanted for her staff, as well as the culture of support raising she wanted to foster within TeachBeyond. She went through additional training to become a certified SRS Bootcamp Facilitator, allowing her to host and lead in-house Bootcamps for TeachBeyond staff. Attending SRS Bootcamp training quickly became an integral part of onboarding and training for new staff.

She also began educating staff on how to navigate and understand their MPD software and ministry accounts so they know where their support is coming from, how it is allocated, and how to maintain regular communication with supporters. This MPD literacy has enabled staff to track their support throughout the year, helping them weather unexpected expenses and plan ahead to maintain or build more support.

Since most staff heavily utilize the summer months to shore up their support raising before heading back to the field to teach in the fall, Buchholtz began identifying and training seasonal MPD coaches. These coaches tracked with staff throughout their summer support raising efforts, providing accountability and troubleshooting to help staff stay on track and reach their goals.

While the executive leadership supported Buchholtz’s role and the changes she initiated, their buy-in increased when they attended the Support Raising Leaders Conference with her earlier this year. This event allowed them to connect with other ministry leaders and see how other organizations were also prioritizing support raising culture and policies that set their staff up for success on the field. It also gave them a common framework and language surrounding MPD best practices that has added momentum throughout the year.

When she took on her current role of MPD coordinator, Buchholtz’s goal was: “All of TeachBeyond fully funded.” In just a few years, they are well on their way to that goal. More staff are fully funded now than ever before. While there once was pushback from staff on attending Bootcamp, many now personally thank her for making it a requirement. While 100% support used to be viewed as a lofty, unattainable goal, it is now seen as doable and necessary.

“As we’re going forward, I have a lot of hope,” she says. “God’s going to keep opening doors. It is God’s vision for the people doing His work to be fully funded.”


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