When you’re in the midst of life and ministry, it’s all too easy to let your financial partnerships fall to the background and forget they are a part of the ministry too. We’ve all done it, and we’ve all learned that it’s so much harder to pick back up with fundraising after you’ve let it slip for days, weeks, or even months at a time.
There are a few things you can do to overcome that barrier of getting back into fundraising, despite the busyness that surrounds your life on the field.
1 Shift Your Mindset Away From Meeting In Person
You don’t have to travel in order to have a meeting with a financial partner. Yes, it was helpful in the beginning push of your missions journey to meet with people face to face. It gives them a clear sense of your passion and you can easily answer all the questions they have. Not only clear communication, you’re also purposely building a relationship you hope to maintain for many years.
Just because you started out that way, though, doesn’t mean that meeting face to face is the only way to fundraise. You don’t have to travel “back home” in order to update your financial partners, or even to ask them for increases in their giving. Send out an update of the last few weeks (or months), without apologizing or drawing attention to the lapse. Then, immediately do what you should have done the first time - follow up! It's truly possible to get an update complete in only 10 minutes, here's how.
“What do you do, when you're on the field and some financial partners have to suspend their giving? I thought the answer was wait until home assignment and pray a lot.”
Yes, pray and trust the Lord. But you don't have to wait for your "home" trip.
Calling or emailing every person on your list should take a commitment of just an hour a week. Think of it like tithing your time to invest in those that are investing in the Kingdom with you. This will allow you to re-connect, as well as share any current needs you have, right from your international home.
2 Plan Ahead To Use All The Technology
It’s no longer a hassle to connect with someone internationally. Do you remember those incredibly long and awkward phone numbers? Now, you have an opportunity to communicate with everyone who follows you on Facebook and invite them to chat with you.
Use current technology to serve your needs. Skype is typically familiar, internationally friendly, and low cost for anyone needing to make multiple video calls. This also provides you with a chance to create a face to face meeting, though your time difference could present a challenge. If you both have iPhones, you can use FaceTime to connect or Google Hangouts for a great video chat.
These services are all great, but you need to think ahead for the basics of how you plan to lead the conversation while you have the short time to connect. What part of your ministry would they like to hear about? What’s the best thing that’s happened in your ministry lately?
How will you transition to ask for finances? How will you phrase that ask for funding? Don’t get stuck in a conversation sharing absolutely every detail of your ministry, and then regret not bringing up finances when you had planned on it.
3 Make A List Of Needed Connections
Make a list of who and when you plan to try and connect with this week. Who are the top 10, 20, or 30 partners that you want to build stronger relationships with? Who are the friends who’ve given a one time or annual gift, and have been receiving your newsletters, and who might want to join your monthly partnership team? Then use the technology to your advantage. It only takes an hour a week of your time!
Don’t let a lack of funds be the reason you have to leave the missions field. Your work is too important to allow a simple thing like funding to keep you from ministry. Maybe consider having a Tailored Coach provide the support and accountability to help you get started connecting with partners from the field.
Here’s what a veteran missionary couple shared about their experience raising funds from Thailand.
“We don’t often get back for home assignment. Therefore, developing new partners was an activity that we engaged in every few years. What do you do though, when you're on the field and some partners have to suspend their giving? I thought the answer was wait until home assignment and pray a lot. Well, you can and should still pray a lot, but waiting isn’t necessary. Tailored Fundraising Solutions helped connect us with a coach who walked us through the process of gaining new partners while we were still on the field. They gave us the tools, kept us motivated, and instilled hope where there was little. Thank you Tailored!”
- A Recent Client, fundraising from the missions field.
Susie Berner, Fundraising Coach
You can usually find me at the beach, swimming in the pool, or planting a garden and keeping my fingers crossed that something will grow. Coaching missionaries to catch a vision for the potential and privilege of building a financial partnership team is amazing. I love it when a missionary gains the confidence and determination to build a team, and then sends me an email when they are fully funded!