Bill Dillon has been with People Raising for a very long time, and he has worked with raising funds for missions for a very long time. So when he gives tips on raising missionary support, you should listen. (From EMQ.)
Here’s Confession #4.
Focus on vision, not need.
“Potential donors want to know specifically what your vision is and how their money will advance the Lord’s work.”
Again, Bill is right on.
However, why is Bill right on?
The importance of differentiation.
Bill is right in that most people don’t get excited about giving towards a “need.”
You have to understand that most potential supporters have already been approached by many missionaries, and they all “need” something. Usually, they all need money.
So, if you are raising support, and the focus is your need, then you are just like everybody else who has been seeking support. You make yourself the easy candidate for rejection.
You need to differentiate yourself and your mission from everybody else who is seeking missionary support. One great way to do this is to focus on the vision of what God can do – not focus on the need that is lacking.
It will keep you sane.
If you focus on need while raising support, you will become depressed or go insane. Or both.
All hyperbole aside, it won’t be fun talking so negatively all the time. It will be tough to be thankful for all that you already have when focusing on the need. It will be tough to be hopeful for the future when all you do is focus on the need.
Focus on the vision, and you can be thankful and hopeful.
It will serve others best.
When you raise support for missions, you will quickly discover that many Christians are not actively sending missionaries. That is, they don’t pray for them much, and they give of their money even less. Or, perhaps their focus on missions is skewed in some way. These people don’t need to hear about your need. They need to grow in their Christian maturity.
If you focus on the vision, you can move these Christians out of missions sending inactivity or out of unbalanced missions. You can serve others best not by persuading others to meet a financial need, but by exhorting them to be part of a vision that glorifies God.
They may never support your ministry, but many will grow in their Christ-likeness as they grow in their involvement in missions. This may come through partnering with you.
Or maybe they will partner with others.
When you’re not focused on need, then you can be totally fine with that.