Over the next several weeks, we will be looking at many of his “confessions.” Each “confession” is often a fundraising lesson he learned the hard way.
Bill raises missions support primarily from individuals, but his principles are still solid. Be a Fully Funded Missionary (BFFM) focuses on giving the practical skills needed to raise support from churches.
Let’s take a look at his first confession, and see if the Bill Dillon has good insight for us.
#1: Do not take the giving decision away from your prospects and donors.
Bill indicates that early on in his fundraising efforts, he would make two lists. One list consisted of people who he thought would give, and the other list consisted of those he thought would not give.
He only contacted the list of people he thought would give. That is, he made the “No” decision for people whom he had never asked.
Do I disagree with this?
With very limited time to raise funds, I prioritize the churches I will contact seeking support. In BFFM, I use the GEAR method. G is for “Gather.” When I gather potential supporting churches, I use certain criteria to prioritize them. For one, I typically don’t approach churches who have less than 100 attending their church. Why? Churches that small often don’t have funds for missionaries other than their own, and they usually need more time to grow. I certainly have contacted smaller churches, but they are often a lower priority than slightly smaller churches.
How do you know if a church is too small? Often, if it does not have a website, it is too small. If there is a website, how well it is maintained will indicate for you what kind of resources the church has.
Because we have limited time to contact potential supporters, I prioritize based upon size of the church.
I also prioritize based upon geography. I suspect even Bill Dillon would agree with this. Although technology would allow him to contact potential supporters all over the world, there are probably some people in outer Mongolia that he would cross off his list.
Bill is completely right about one thing.
Another way that Bill decided for others was that he asked for a low amount from people whom he did not think could give very much. Again, he made the decision for them.
Be sure to have high expectations for your potential supporters. Don’t ashamedly tell them how much you must raise and then beg for $10 per month.
What should you say?
“We are seeking major supporters to partner with us in prayer and financial support, for 10-15% of our monthly budget.” (Or something like that).
Many won’t support you at that level – but don’t make that decision for them, because some will support you at that level.
Remember: your ministry is valuable. Don’t undermine it by low expectations for those who will be partnering with you.
Next time we look at Confession #2: Persistence makes a difference.
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