OVERCOME MAJOR OBSTACLES TO GET FULLY FUNDED

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By on June 6, 2016   /   11 Comments

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In my time as a support coach, I have yet to see a ministry worker not make it to the field because they were unable to raise their budget. I’ve seen people not go to the field because they got engaged, accepted a different job, or had medical issues—but it has yet to be money that has kept someone from going to the ministry they felt called to. That being said, I’ve seen numerous ministers scared that they were never going to get to the magical 100% mark. Some just freeze up, unable to move forward because of obstacles and fears. So lets talk about the obstacles and fears we face when raising our budgets. What are some of the most common? And what can we do to overcome them? 

#1 Obstacle: Perspective/Lack of Biblical Understanding

Viewing fundraising as a necessary evil instead of a vibrant ministry can be the largest hurdle someone raising support can face. I once heard it said 90% of support raising is perspective. After listening to numerous workers talk about their struggles, I find this overwhelmingly true. Workers who can’t seem to see the awesome ministry opportunities raising support provides them are the same ones who can’t seem to get to full support, and ultimately will probably walk away from their ministry calling. Viewing support raising as ministry is vital to staying engaged long-term and excited about the process.

If you go into an appointment seeing it only as a means to an end, you’ll pass up the opportunity to minister to the person across from you—and miss being blessed yourself! Other effects may be:

  • Coming across as disingenuous
  • Being sloppy and cutting corners
  • Awkward and fearful to make strong/bold ask

So, how can we overcome? Seek out a biblical understanding of support raising. Discover what God has to say on the subject in the bible studies in the appendix of The God Ask. Ask others who have been successful in raising their support about their overall perspective. Pray continuously, and ask the Lord why He came up with this idea of Christian workers raising their personal and ministry expenses from others. He has already given the answers in scripture, we just have to find them.

#2 Obstacle: Procrastination

Do you ever find yourself starting to work on something important, only to be distracted by a text, social media post, or an internet deep dive? Instead of making progress on your task, you find yourself watching a YouTube video about a horse and a dog becoming best friends? Don’t feel alone. Here are some stats on procrastination:

Have you ever taken on a project you knew would take a long time to complete (like raising an entire budget!) and instead of attacking it, you procrastinate a few hours instead? Those few hours become a day, a day turns into two or three days, and two or three days ends up being a week—a wasted week! Sometimes support raisers will go into total denial and will dream up all kinds of new “to-do’s” to work on, except the one they’re assigned—raising their support! As a coach I see this in those raising funds who also have jobs or current ministry responsibilities. They may subconsciously increase their hours at their jobs, or say yes to more ministry opportunities. Why? Anything to get them out of making the calls and setting up appointments! Is that you?

How can we overcome? Set specific, challenging, but reachable goals for yourself each week and share those goals with someone who can exercise a little “tough love” and keep you accountable. Write down those weekly goals and break them down into daily tasks. Don’t let a week (or even a day!) slip through the cracks. If you feel the “procrastination monkey” starting to crawl onto your back, quickly ask for help, accountability, and advice from those you trust.

#3 Obstacle: Lack of Contacts

This is a common one, but may or may not be a real issue. Sometimes it is a perceived obstacle, and if that’s you, you need to face up to reality. Let’s go straight to the solutions:

How can we overcome? Start by checking Facebook. I know not all your 850 “friends” are your best buds, but they are connections you have made over time, including exchanging likes and postings for months or years. It is an easy next step to message them for a cup of coffee.

When namestorming a list of people you’ll be asking for support, make sure you are not limiting yourself to those you THINK will give. Include everyone you know. Why? You’ll be shocked when you discover some of those you thought would surely support you, don’t. And those you thought never-in-a-million-years would give, want to jump on your team! Never let your perceptions (or paranoia!) determine who will or won’t contact. Remember God is in this process. Allow Him to do His job!

If your concern about having a small number of contacts is real (around 85% of the time I find it’s only a perceived obstacle), go ahead and begin your support raising. Work hard to set up appointments with everyone—not just the ones you’re comfortable asking! Along the way, connect with pastors or others raising support and ask for their help and prayers as you overcome. Ask those who are cheerfully supporting you for referrals. Experiment with a fundraising dinner (or other creative events) as ways to possibly expanding your contact base.

#4 Obstacle: Lack of Time

Ministry commitments, large families, full-time jobs, school, frequent social engagements, etc. all vie for daily attention and concentration. If you find yourself over-scheduled (even before you start raising up your team), you may be tempted to procrastinate, cut corners, or even give up! Be assured, though, that the Lord has given you just the right amount of time each week to accomplish exactly what He wants you to. I know it’s hard to balance everything, but take heart, God delights in giving you grace and wisdom.

How can we overcome? Pull your pastor or a trusted friend aside, and the both of you look hard at which of your priorities and time commitments are essential to you and God—and which ones are elective. Be willing to temporarily cut items from your schedule during the next 3, 6, 9 months of support raising. I know it’s painful, especially if have to set aside social obligations or ministry commitments for a time. And if you are working full-time, consider figuring out a way to move to part-time, or even transition to full-time support raising. That would be the ideal!

Do you have any tips for overcoming these four obstacles? Or maybe you have experienced or observed other obstacles that can inhibit successful support raising? Share them in the comments. We want to hear from you, pray for you, and seek to be of help.

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