When Can I Stop Fundraising?

Are you fully funded? Congratulations!

Now you can finally stop fundraising and get on to your ministry, right?

Sorry—but, wrong.

Remember, as a fundraiser by trade, fundraising doesn't end when you reach 100% of your financial goal…. because fundraising is always going to be part of your ministry.

Being out in the field is incredible—and you should celebrate the work that you’ve accomplished to get yourself here. The field is full of need and opportunity. But the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and the sheer excitement of being hands-on in the ministry often cause us to lose focus on what got us here in the first place: our financial partners.

If we aren’t careful, weeks and months can go by without an update, and they will have seemingly disappeared from our radar (which can cause your “fully-funded” status to dwindle over time).

If you want to keep your partnerships strong, you need to make the time to include them in your ministry (even when you are thousands of miles away, with erratic internet connection).

Taking the time to report back to them, especially through short stories, will keep them stay engaged in the ministry through giving, prayer, and encouragement.

We suggest spending 10% of your work week on continued fundraising (after you’re fully funded). So, say you work 40 hours every week. Consider investing 4 hours to partnership maintenance.

Sound like a lot? Here are some ideas on how to spend that time:

1. Check your giving reports. Keep track of people who miss a month, those who increase their giving, and those who give special gifts. Stay on top of this because lapsed partners could be going through a crisis (or, it could just be their credit card). Checking in with them is an opportunity for holistic partnership and connection.

2. Download and file your pictures. Make two folders for pictures: personal and newsletter. Our clients take an average of 100 pictures per week. That is 400 pictures to wade through at the end of the month when it comes time to write a newsletter—and nobody wants that!

3. Write down stories. Consider journaling stories into your computer as soon as you can. At the end of the month, you can just copy and paste a story into your newsletter template, select a few pictures of impact from your newsletter folder, and voila! You’ve saved yourself time and that all-too-familiar end of the month angst that, let’s face it, tempts you to give up on a newsletter altogether.

4. Special donor connections. Make a plan for individual connections between newsletters: a postcard, a text, a short video clip, even a Skype call shows that you value and need them. In all of your communication, continually express your gratitude and connect your donors to how their partnership is making a difference in your life and in the lives of those you serve together.

The key to having a healthy, vibrant, engaged partnership team is to remember them often. If you view tithing a portion of every week as developing ministry relationships, it could very well be the best 4 hours of your week!

If you don’t enjoy fundraising, we believe you’re doing it all wrong. You can’t spell fundraising without fun. And that’s what we’re here for. Get our secrets to fun fundraising here.

5 Steps to Increased Funding

Inclusive Fundraising: Using the Right Words