Asking Donors to Increase Support

©The Navigators.

©The Navigators.

How many of your giving partners have not increased their support for three years or more? Don’t overlook them! 

Most giving partners do not automatically increase their support every couple years. Asking giving partners to upgrade is just as time-consuming as going after new donors. But they know you and your ministry better. It’s fun! 

Q. Won’t I offend my giving partners if I ask them to “give more?” Does it show I’m ungrateful? 

Won’t I offend my giving partners if I ask them to “give more?” Does it show I’m ungrateful?”

A. If your newsletters contain veiled appeals for giving, then yes, you might offend. But if you communicate ministry news regularly, it’s not likely. In my experience, inviting donors to increase strengthens our relationship—but I do it one by one. 

Here are some guidelines and language to get you started:

  • One by One. Asking donors to increase in a mass letter garners zero response. Invite them one by one—the same way you appeal to non-donors.

  • Start Small. Prayerfully identify 2-3 donors to invite to increase and see how it goes. You will gain confidence to ask others.

  • Identify who you want to upgrade. List all who have given the same amount for three or more years. Pray over them name by name asking God how He wants you to connect with each person.

Don’t list those who joined your giving team in the past year or two. It gives the impression you are unhappy with what they give.  

What I do: I phone and chat a bit to catch up and then say I am ready to send them a “five-pound letter” and ask if they will receive it—“It’s about money!” Humor. They always say yes, and then I say it is to “Invite them to increase their support but there is no obligation.”

  • “I am actively recruiting new partners, but I also want to contact our faithful partners like you.”

  • Face to Face. You have experienced success in recruiting new partners face-to-face—now ask your current partners to increase face-to-face. Tell them ahead of time you’d like to report on your ministry and review your financial situation.

  • Thank you and stories. When you meet privately or appeal on the phone, genuinely thank them and tell meaningful stories about your ministry. I say, “You are right there with me every time I get on an airplane or do a Bible study with a young business guy.”

  • Listen. If you run your mouth over 40% of the time, something is wrong. Ask questions. Get interested in them. 

Q. What about appealing for increases on social media? 

A. No. Use social media to re-connect, share exciting stories and set appointments.   

Affirm them no matter what their decision. Leave the decision between them and the Lord. Don’t allow them to feel guilty if they say no. 

When I think of donor ministry, I think of Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given unto you.” The context of Luke 6 is relationships, not money. Give yourself emotionally to your giving partners. Seek to draw them closer to Christ. 

Your giving partners have already “voted” for you in their giving. Don’t overlook them as you seek to raise your full budget. But it will take time. You can do it. This is ministry!