Posts tagged ask
Should I mention an amount or range for my donor prospects to consider? Or is that too pushy?

99% of the time you should suggest an amount or a range.  A friend in Wisconsin told me, “Scott, tell the missionaries to give me some idea of what they want me to do.  I can’t read their minds!”

Without suggesting an amount or range donors can only guess at what you want him or her to pray about.  And most likely, their commitment will be lower than you were hoping.  But have a rationale for what you are asking, don’t just pick a number out of the air.

Should I continue to send newsletters about our ministry? Or does this push them away from giving?

The question includes a bad assumption—newsletters are always about money! Your newsletters should not be about money—in fact, don’t mention money except to say thanks generally for “supporting you,”

Your newsletter carries the banner of your ministry vision—not  to coerce or “guilt” readers into sending gifts! If your letters constantly hint about finances then, you are right, readers will be pushed away from giving!
How to get readers excited about your ministry?  Don’t merely list your activities for the past year. Yawn! Here are a couple suggestions:

  • Tell a story about one person who is benefiting from your ministry—a saved marriage or someone who has found a personal encounter with Christ. 
  • Tell a sad or challenging story about a person who needs your ministry.
  • Show a photo of you in action in your work. Put a caption under it because people always read captions.
  • Keep it short—one page! You don’t read long letters do you! One page, one photo, one story!

How about this strategy?  Send four “vision” newsletters per year to everyone on your list. Send three additional thank-you letters to donors-only. Send an appreciation gift to donors-only once a year. Send a cash project letter to everyone on your list once a year. (That’s the time you talk about money!) Learn how to write an effective cash project letter from my book, Fund Your Ministry at

What if someone says they will give but never do?

If you ignore it your “giving friend” will think you didn’t notice or didn’t need the money after all.  Letting it go is not an option!

Try language like this:

“Bob, I want to thank you for your promise to support our work with $50 per month.  But I notice that your first gift has not come in to our ministry headquarters yet…or am I missing something?

How can I serve you?  Shall I come pick your first check up…maybe we could have a little breakfast together and I’ll take it to the office right away.  What is best for you?

The reason I am so persistent on this is that I am not allowed to launch my ministry until I am fully subscribed.  This is a serious matter.”

If the donor seems to want to backtrack on his commitment: 

“How do you feel about this, Bob?  Is God in it?  I don’t want to pressure you because of 2 Cor 9:7 (quote it).  But it seemed like you were quite sure you wanted to support us….”