Update Your Method: How to Ask for Referrals

For the last few decades, many missionaries have been directed, at the end of every presentation, to ask, “do you have any referrals?”

While this may have been a foolproof method  in the past, it seems to been working less and less. But why? Well, people seek and expect connection. Connection, or a relationship, is a vital piece of the fundraising process. Asking for referrals, names and contact info, is a great way to grow your funding partners list. However, someone giving you just the name of someone else is a very weak connection.

What can you do to make that referral connection stronger?

Here’s a couple of the most ideal options.

1 Your advocate can host a small get-together.

Inviting new-to-you people to come hear about this ministry and the opportunity to partner financially provides an easier connection. In this scenario, it’s important the people invited understand this gathering is to consider a financial partnership. The purpose isn’t simply to have warm bodies in the room, but rather to have interested people in the room.

As the ministry or missionary asking for financial partnership and referrals, it’s your job to make sure your advocate understands the purpose of this get together. So that even if only one or two people can come, it’s worth it.

Think about this: What if you began your fundraising believing that a person's need to give was greater than your need to receive? Read more, The Biggest Challenge of Fundraising for Missions.

2 Your advocate can introduce you via email.

Not everyone is cut out to be a host, but everyone knows people! The email can be very simple; introducing you, the ministry, and letting the referral know you, as the missionary, will follow up with them. The most important piece of this method is that you should follow up right away!

Utilize the strength of the relationship between your advocate and their referral for you. Don’t allow your advocate to just assume dropping their name will help. Think and plan ahead to ask your current financial partner if they would be willing to make that connection for you, strengthening the introduction from the start!


Jenny Karr, Director of Training & Coaching Services

My mission is to train, equip, and support people in ministry and as the Director of Training and Coaching Services, I get to do all of those things in one role! When I’m not coaching, training, or writing blogs, I’m enjoying time at home or in the city with my husband, daughter, and friends here in Nashville, TN.

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