The Latest Support Raising Trends: A Survey of 100 Sending Agencies

By on March 1, 2007   /   Leave a comment

Maybe you ran into one of our dedicated staff women at the Urbana Missions Conference in St. Louis this past December. Anna Webb and Megan Corbett were there representing The BodyBuilders Ministry, but also spent several days diligently surveying over 100 different mission agencies who were exhibiting there. Just as the ministry leaders they questioned did not claim to have all knowledge, we are not presenting ourselves as “research scholars!” We’re simply trying to come up with some “pretty close” figures as to how Christian workers are currently doing in support raising. The survey included three basic questions:

1. What percentage of your staff would you estimate to be at 100% support?

After asking leaders from the 100 sending agencies this question, we found the astonishing percentage of staff who were at full support at only 48%. So, less than half of all the people on staff with these organizations are at full support! That’s the discouraging news. The encouraging part is that 16 out of the 100 organization had 81-100% of their staff at full support. So, it can happen! Plus, from Anna and Megan’s extensive conversations with many of you, their observation was that low support levels among your staff is probably not due to their inability to raise support, but is linked more to organizational policies, expectations, and training.

2. How long do you estimate it takes your average staff member to raise their full support?

From the 100 organizations surveyed, the average estimated time it takes a staff member to raise their full support is 17 months. A number of external factors need to be taken into consideration, such as the amount of support the staffer needed to raise, whether the staff member was raising their support full or part-time, etc…Actually, this 17 month figure encouraged us because at Urbana ’03 we did a similar survey and the average length of time to get to full support was 23 months. So, maybe we are making progress!

3. How much time does your organization allot to support raising training?

The amount of time different organizations spend on support raising training was all over the board. Some, we sensed, did not offer any training in this area at all, but were reluctant to admit that. On the other hand (as hard as it is for me to believe!) five different groups said they spent 10 days training their staff how to raise support. Please, if you spend more than 6 full days in support training, let me know. I have a gold star I want to give you! Lastly, the groups with 0-7 hours of training had significantly less staff at 100% support, indicating that training does play a critical role in the success of your staff’s support raising efforts.


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