The purpose of this series is to equip you, as a missionary, to walk into meetings with potential donors with confidence. There are some simple tools you can use to present your ministry with conviction to anyone that may be willing to join you as a financial partner. If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can find it here.
I had the opportunity to participate in a driving course with the Porsche Sports Driving School. The first principle of driving a high performance vehicle around an Indy-style race track is the importance of vision: “Look ahead, to where you want to drive the car.” Amazingly enough, this is also true in fundraising. Your vision, looking ahead, when going into a meeting with a potential partner will determine the direction and outcome of your meeting. Utilizing these five steps will keep the focus off yourself and their money, and will realign your focus on God, His mission and His resources.
1. Ask God about your partners.
Before Jesus invited His disciples to join His ministry team, Luke tells us that He spent an entire night in prayer about the men He would invite to join Him in the Kingdom Work. You also should take time to pray for the individuals you will be meeting with. This sacred time together with a potential partner might be the first step into a journey of deeper involvement in Great Commission Work. What a privilege to pray for that person, knowing there is a possibility of a long term relationship, working together for the Kingdom. It should be a consistent principle in all areas of your life that you talk to God about your partners before talking to your partners about ministry.
2. Take time to understand the passions of your potential partners while building a solid relationship.
Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, reminds us that as image bearers of the God of the Universe, everyone longs to make a difference with their lives. Even though we may not always live out that innate purpose, you have the opportunity to leverage your passion for making a difference. When your passion aligns with the passions of your donors, this creates great synergy. Your combined efforts will be greater than your individual effort could ever accomplish. Do you know what inspires and ignites generosity in your donors? Are you engaging with potential partners before and during a meeting in a way that allows you to discover their passions, and connect those to the impact of your ministry? Are you meeting with potential donors that share the same passions God has given you?
3. Challenge your potential partner to grow spiritually.
In partnership development, there is a win-win scenario when vision and opportunity unite. The Christian worker, and the people you and your team are serving; have the benefit of a team of people leveraging their spiritual gifts, talents, finances and spiritual resources to effect change. Paul says in Philippians 4:17, “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account,” which emphasizes the win for the donor. The win could be the opportunity for them to give beyond their regular giving for the first time, or a doorway to greater involvement in the Great Commission; it might even be the first time they learn to sacrifice. According to Paul, your invitation can usher in a blessing beyond anything you or they could ever ask or think.
4. Share the burden you have for affecting change in this world.
Impact and making a difference together creates space for a new dimension in any relationship. Engaging individuals around a shared vision elevates that relationship to something bigger than just being friends, prayer partners, or simply financial givers. You are assembling a team of foot soldiers to accomplish a noble purpose that none of you could do alone. Fundraising is not a transactional approach to ministry, as if your partner gives so you can serve. It is a shared commitment affecting change, your partners give and you serve so that you all can affect change together.
5. Share the vision you have for a dynamic missions partnership.
Inviting someone into partnership is simply that, an invitation. You believe so deeply in the work and you value so deeply the participation of others that you make the time to clearly articulate why their involvement in this cause is important to you and the Kingdom. Jesus didn’t manipulate, demand or run after people to follow Him. Instead, He stated the cause and the cost, then invited others to join Him. He did this in a personal and individualized manner. As a follower of Christ, and advocate for His calling in your life, your charge is nothing more, and most certainly nothing less.
With many years experience in fundraising coaching, I’m passionate about equipping believers to become leaders and influencers for the Great Commission. In my personal life, I enjoy spending time with my family, and international students in the Birmingham area.