I spent 10 weeks this spring raising support. I learned a lot and wanted to share the wealth.
This spring we were very blessed to have a few supporters join our team in the range of $500-$1000/monthly. It’s not like we’re just awash in big donors. Previously we had 2 supporters in that range. Here’s a few things we learned.
Insights on asking for significant monthly support:
Who should you ask?
- Your own discernment will get you a long way – but you need to have some indication that they are capable of giving at this level.
- This is not by, any means, a normal ask that you will use very often.
- This spring we asked 101 people for support. I only asked 4 to contribute at this level. 3 chose to do so. The 4th joined our monthly team at a lesser amount.
Respect their time
- I offered to stop by their office for 15 minutes. Most of them wanted to just talk on the phone for 5 minutes. Obviously face to face, relationship building is better. I had known most of these folks for many years so the phone option worked fine.
They won’t be offended by your ask
- They are used to being asked and are not offended and likely make big financial decisions every day for their job. They will tell you no if they don’t want to give. But they won’t be offended.
Offer an option to give annually
- Many large donors like to give all at once.
Be prepared and know your numbers
- They might ask a lot of critical questions – but don’t take it personally. They want to give wisely and be well informed donors.
- These are often successful businesspeople who live in the realm of numbers and spreadsheets. They will be doing the math in their head as you talk about your need.
- Me: “I need $4,400 in monthly support…”
- Them (interrupting): “So that’s close to $53,000 on an annual basis. Why do you need that much?”
- Me: “That will get us back to full salary – $60,000 – and cover our healthcare and personal ministry expenses”
Be able to answer – “How did you get into this predicament?”
- My response:
“This past fall we were getting short paychecksIt’s a combination of the economy (we lost some key supporters in the past few years) and our costs have escalated.
We haven’t stopped to raise support like this since we came on staff 15 years ago. With 5 kids and increased healthcare costs, our financial needs have grown quite a bit.
So this spring I am working full time on raising our personal support and taking serious aim at broadening our base of support so we can lead long term with Cru in reaching college students in an undistracted way.”
Let them know that they are not alone
- I’ve heard from several wealthy, Godly, generous people that one of their chief concerns is you becoming dependent on them.
- I’ve heard it in different ways:
- “I don’t want to give too much because I don’t want to steal the blessing of giving from others” (And they seem to genuinely mean this. They find joy in giving. They could give much more. But they want others to partner with us too.)
- “It worries me that if my company should go under it will take you with it.”
- “I once supported someone significantly and was unable to continue for a season, and they couldn’t recover. They left ministry.”
- So I make a point to let them know that they are not alone – we have several people who give in this way.
- What I say: “We have a handful of supporters who are significant partners with us in reaching college student who give between $500-$1000 monthly, or $6-12,000 on an annual basis. Would you and Julie consider partnering with us in this way?”
If it would be helpful to you, you can download a Word doc of my flow of a conversation/ask for a significant monthly gift.
Next Post: 10 Tips and Resources for Raising Support
photo courtesy of thinkpanama