Fundamentals of Fundraising

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Fundamentals of Fundraising

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“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8

One of the hardest things we do in ministry is to ask others for money or financial assistance.  Yet God’s Word tells us that if we ask for whatever we need in His name, we shall receive it.  When we ask God in prayer for the things we need for our ministry, including money, it is through people that God supplies these needs.  If we honestly seek Him and ask with pure motives for the financial resources we need to do His work, will not the God of the universe supply that need?  Will He not direct others with financial resources to us to fill our need?  And does not God bless both the giver and the receiver?

Let’s begin by defining what we mean by fundraising. According to the dictionary, Fundraising is the act of soliciting financial contributions to support ministries or enable ministry expansion. For our purposes, we will exclude tithes and offerings which are generally given regularly by being church members.

There are 6 main purposes for fundraising. First, we fundraise to seek God’s will and to validate our need.  God will only provide funds for His purposes, not ours (“Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails”– Proverbs 19:21).  Second, we fundraise to meet church needs, such as building repairs or new facilities. Third, we fundraise to establish new ministries which may require additional resources, such as staff, publicity or facilities. Fourth, we fundraise to support mission work, such as living expenses to missionary families or to pay for travel costs for mission trips. Fifth, we fundraise to provide direct relief to needy people (“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” – James 1:27). Finally, we fundraise for special projects, like rebuilding a church that has been damaged or destroyed or supporting a major local community outreach or event.

There are also 3 basic philosophies of fundraising:

  1. Pray.
  2. Pray and inform.
  3. Pray, inform and ask.

Many people just use prayer. God does hear our prayers and can direct others supernaturally to fulfill our need. I have prayed many times for a financial need that we have and have seen people respond without us ever mentioning our need. I often use prayer along with informing to raise funds. For example, we inform others about our ministry through our monthly newsletter. We often receive donations after sending one out. We did not ask for donations but after reading what God is doing in our ministry people are moved by the Holy Spirit to make a donation. I primarily use the third philosophy, which is to pray, inform and ask through our annual fundraising appeal letter. I do this only once per year as I believe it is only necessary to ask once and then let God do the rest. It is not good or beneficial to keep asking if people do not respond. And on a few rare occasions I have asked for funds through a personal, face to face, meeting for special needs that we may encounter. So I use all 3 philosophies depending upon the purpose, need and the timing.

Here are 7 Principles of Fundraising to keep in mind:

  1. Ask only for what you truly need. (“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” – Hebrews 13:5)
  2. Ask for contributions above regular church giving. Encourage people not to reduce their regular giving. Look for givers outside of the church.
  3. Specify how the funds will be used. Prepare a budget and identify all expenses.
  4. Clearly communicate the need for the funds. Tell people why you need the money, not just what it is for. Express the need spiritually – what is God asking you to do?
  5. Commit to reporting back the use and results of the funds. Inform donors of what was achieved with their donation. Failure to do so can impact future fundraising.
  6. Don’t fundraise too often. You create the impression that all you care about is money.
  7. When appropriate, share information on the progress. Provide a progress report in church or a special meeting to inform your congregation and keep them engaged.

Here are 7 simple steps on how to raise funds:

  1. Establish your ministry need. Gather input from as many sources as possible.
  2. Determine amount of money that you need to raise. Consider resources that you already have and raise the difference you require to proceed.
  3. Decide on the best method of fundraising. (An event, a letter, special offering, etc.)
  4. Decide when to raise the funds. Avoid conflict with other fundraising events and determine the length of time needed to raise the funds.
  5. Publicize the appeal. Inform your church and your community (if necessary or helpful).
  6. Do the fundraising event. (hold event, mail letter, collect offerings, etc.)
  7. Communicate the Progress/Results. Share progress regularly.

Fundraising is a necessity for most ministries. It is not difficult but does require prayer, preparation, and courage. We should never be ashamed to ask for financial help from others to accomplish what God desires of us. And it is a blessing to watch how God uses us and others to fulfill His purposes!!

What is God calling you to fundraise for?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

FaithLife Ministries was founded by Barry Voss & Kim Star-Voss in 2001 as a ministry to train and equip Christian leaders in the mission field.

In 1996, Barry first heard the call to go to the mission field. On that mission trip to Kazakhstan, he sensed God’s call on his life to serve Him in a mission field ministry. He continued to respond to that call by going on several more mission trips to teach and minister in 1997. In 1998 he felt God’s call to organize and lead mission trips, and so he recruited and led teams to Peru in 1999 & 2000 through Missions International, a Nashville based mission agency. In 2001, God led Barry and Kim to decide to incorporate in order to lead mission teams on their own, and so FaithLife Ministries was born. They led their first mission trip to the Philippines in May of that year. On that trip Barry taught a workshop on Church Administration.  Our Philippines host invited Barry to come back the following year and teach on that topic for an entire week at their Bible School.  As a result, Barry developed the Management For Church Leaders™training course.  Since then this ministry has continued to grow as God has led us to more mission field contacts and opened up more opportunities for us to train and equip the leaders of His church.

In 2005, Barry was called to work full-time in this ministry. His focus is on church leadership and management training.  Kim has developed a series of Children’s Ministry Books that are available through this website and joins Barry to teach on leadership and management occasionally. The Lord has continued to affirm our teaching and has led us to seek more opportunities and foreign trainers.

 

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