The Worst–and Most Common–Fundraising Ask From Missionaries, and How to Fix It

It’s always a beautiful day in the neighborhood when my favorite guest blogger, Todd Eckhardt from World Gospel Mission, drops by. Todd’s topic today: The worst (and, not coincidentally, most transactional) ask a missionary can make, and how to transform it into something, you know, transformational.

Take it away, Todd “TG” Eckhardt!

Be careful not to slip into transaction when the pressure is on to get to the field.  The method of “10 more donors at $10 a month” can end up being just about YOU. This old method can become stale and ‘me’ focused quickly if we are not careful because by itself it does not move folks to transformation.  A few simple tweaks of this appeal can move this to transformation.

But before we tweak it let’s look at the dangers of it without looking for transformation.

Dangers using this appeal in your newsletters:

•             Keep in mind that the majority of the ones getting the letters (email) already give monthly so this type of appeal may be preaching to the choir.

•             This appeal tends to be all about the missionary and not about the champion.

•             This appeal fosters no involvement outside of cash.

So we need to move this appeal to transformation…

1.            The time has come for the “O’s” [Editor’s note: Owners; if this term is new to you, just search on “Owner” in the search box on this here blog page] on the mailing list to get different info than the rest of the list. For example the “O” can receive an email the week before the general email saying something like, “Next week we will be sending an update to the team.  In this update we will be asking the team to rally together for the last bit of the financial part needed for the ministry in ..wherever.. Let’s join together in prayer this week as God prepares the hearts of those who will receive the coming update.”  This now gets the “O’s” mobilized.  Then they can also receive the general letter to so they can see it firsthand.

2.            When the general letter goes out it needs to move people to action greater than giving. For example it could state, “For those already assisting in the financial goal of the team, ask God what may be next for you. If the Lord shows other ways you can help the cause we would love to hear what God is doing in your journey.”

3.            When the general letter goes out it needs to focus on the team and the champion rather than language like “We need or I need only 25 more donors”  The “I need” once again makes the champion a spectator not a player.

Example of the tweaks to the “We need only 25 more donors at $40 per month and we can get to the field.” appeal.

“As we all have been working these past few months to mobilize the Gospel for the country, here is an update on how we are doing.  To have the ministry extend to the country, $$$$ is needed to reach the financial portion of the outreach goal. So as a team let’s trust God as we work together to see Him provide. One way God can provide is for this need to be shared. For example, the need would be met by 25 new champions at $40.  Pray about what God would have you do or whom God would have you talk to about being part of the outreach in the country.”

This is just an example.  There are several ways this could be presented.  Maybe you could even attach to an email a coupon the champion could print and use to recruit others.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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1 Response to The Worst–and Most Common–Fundraising Ask From Missionaries, and How to Fix It

  1. John Lee says:

    Great word from Todd! Especially since missionaries often try to throw blame towards new approaches when they come against the frustrations of fundraising. It was well thought through and had tangible application for a missionary.

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