Dumb Things Smart People Do in Their Fundraising

I got this idea from the book The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money by Jill Schlesinger. So, I wondered, what about fundraising.

Here are six dumb things smart Gospel-workers do in fundraising. Fasten your seatbelt. You may encounter some turbulence.

  1. Depend too much on social media or Crowdfunding. For one-time exotic projects Crowdfunding and social media work well, but for on-going support of your ministry you need something more sustainable. Use social media to create attention to your calling and to find people you can talk to face-to-face.

  2. Talk about money but rarely ask. Having visibility is not fundraising. A well-known Christina leader had 1000 people on his mailing list and was in demand around the world as a speaker. But he was not up to budget until he started making appeals to his 1000 one by one. Within a few months he was fully funded.

  3. Rarely ask face-to-face. Around the world face-to-face appeals generate a “yes” 50-70% of the time for a monthly or annual gift. Sending an appeal letter to one person with a follow up phone call is a distant second at 10-20%.  

  4. Write long and boring newsletters. Too many mission-workers assume that good writing does not matter. But it does matter. A newsletter is different than a letter to your Mom where you describe everything you’ve done since the last letter. One topic, one story, one photo. Donors around the world tell me they prefer one-page or one screen letters.

  5. Failure to follow up after an appeal. Don’t assume that a potential giving partner will take the initiative to get back to you with their decision about support. The ball is always in your court. The Apostle Paul followed up the Corinthians who had indicated an interest in giving to the Collection for Jerusalem but were slow to decide. He wrote the famous 2 Corinthians 8-9 chapters as a follow up.

  6. Failure to “calendarize” fundraising. Sadly, most missionaries work on their fundraising after they have finished their do-list finished—which means they never get around to it. When will you do your fundraising? Someday. Put fundraising meetings on your calendar and don’t let “urgent things” crowd them off.

But underlying these dumb things is one more important than all of them—prayer. Jesus instructed us to ask for daily bread. Fundraising and donor communication is a major part of your ministry. Today, write down your exact monthly budget and ask the Lord to supply it as your daily bread. Then list a dozen potential giving partners, put an amount beside their name and pray for them daily for a week. Then phone them for an appointment. Then write me to share what wonderful things God did!

Give us this day our daily bread.
— Matthew 6:11
Scott MortonComment