Recognize that all donors are not wired to give systematically.
Raising support from individuals presents a unique challenge. It is difficult to predict how much money will be coming in each month.
It can be one extra stressor that can really wear on missionaries.
Often, when raising support, you have to reach a monthly goal. That’s why automated monthly gifts from supporters are the gold standard that all missionaries are seeking. (Of course, if somebody automatically gives quarterly, that’s just as good – you just calculate the monthly amount from that.)
Although I don’t focus on raising missionary support from individuals, I do have some individuals partnering with us. Here are some guidelines I use.
There are some gifts that I don’t calculate into my monthly amount raised. One time gifts aren’t calculated – I consider them cushion. Or, they are counted towards some one time costs. Commitments to give a one time gift annually I also don’t count. It’s too easy for the giver to forget that commitment one year later.
I do this for a few reasons.
- The cushion that results from the one time and once annual gifts is usually needed.
- This leads to a conservative estimate of the monthly support coming it. It’s better to be conservative because it will be tough to raise more support if you are overseas on the missions field!
One great thing about raising support from churches.
Support from churches often leads to unsolicited support from individuals.
It is not unusual to receive gifts from individuals who attend a church that supports us. Perhaps they are responding to a one time need, or perhaps they just want to add more emphasis to what their church is already supporting.
This has happened enough that over several years, I calculated that, on average, about $300 come in each month from “random” gifts from individuals. Often, I have never met these people!
As a bonus other great thing about raising support from churches, churches also often give large one time gifts. There may be a budget surplus – which has happened more than expected even through the rough economy – or they may take some special offerings for missions.