Follow Up After Appointments

Phone

Do you follow up after funding appointments? What if people promise to give, but don’t start?

Here is a letter exchange with my friend H. about checking back after appointments. What do you think of my counsel?

Dear Scott,

Last month I had two funding appointments with friends whom I ‘partially discipled’ in college. One of them, a busy banker, promised to pray about supporting us and get back to me after July. Another promised to get back to me in the month of June, but I have not heard from either one! I am considering giving them a call one of these days. But I fear to put them under pressure to make a decision under compulsion. Help!

H.

--

Dear H.,

Great question, but first a compliment! I am glad you are conducting face-to-face appeals rather than relying on email or social media to make an ask!

Let’s start with the appointment.

As you ended your appointment did you say you would get back to them? It sounds like you are relying on them to take initiative to get back with you. That is naïve! To use a tennis analogy, the ball is always in your court.

At the end of an appointment I say: “Thank you for your willingness to pray about joining our ministry with monthly support…I will check back with you in a week to see how God has led. Is that enough time for you and your spouse to think and pray about my invitation?”

If you say nothing about calling back you only add to the awkwardness that you ‘feel.’ They don’t feel awkward—you do!

Secondly, your concern about 'putting them under pressure' is understandable, but you are being over-sensitive. When you do not follow up with potential donors you are saying your hesitance is more important than your ministry vision and provision for your family. You are making this too much about you.

Question: Why are you overly sensitive to potential donors? What is the underlying core lie you are choosing to believe?

But we have hope! The Apostle Paul had a similar situation. The Corinthian new believers committed to give for “the collection” (1 Corinthians 16) for the mother church in Jerusalem but did nothing for an entire year! (2 Corinthians 8:10)

Why were they were silent for 12 months? The book of First Corinthians reveals they were going through problems—party spirit, sexual issues, taking one another to civil court to name three.

So Paul has a decision: Shall he ‘let it go’ since 12 months have expired and the Corinthians are struggling in their walks with Christ. Or shall he ‘follow up’? Will he offend them?

In 2 Corinthians 8:11 he boldly exhorts:

“But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.”

“Finish doing it!’ That is extreme follow up! Not only that, but he is sending Titus and a team to collect their gift—and he himself is also coming (2 Corinthians 9:4).

Paul does not let them off the hook. He helps them become successful giving partners—not merely for the money, but because giving is part of discipleship.

Did this put pressure on the Corinthians? Probably, but it is a pressure from the Lord to do the right thing. 

H., I am guessing that you follow up in other areas of ministry, such as discipling with your bible study members. Why not in fundraising? Is it not a spiritual ministry?

 Hope this helps, H. Keep on in Christ.

Scott Morton, International Funding Coach