Bill Dillon at People Raising: Seasoned Missions Fundraiser Confession #2.

Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ) recently featured an article from Bill Dillon, the author of the popular Peaple Raising.

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 you need to raise support from churches.

Last week we looked at Confession #1.

This week we look at Confession #2.

Persistence Makes a Difference.

Dillon shared a short story about a time when he had made numerous phone calls to a potential donor.

Eventually, the potential donor visited the missionary facility and made a significant gift.

The point is that without the persistence of many un-returned phone calls, that donor never would have made a significant gift.

I couldn’t agree with Dillon more.

If you haven’t discovered this already while raising missions support, you soon will: many, many, of your phone calls and emails will go unanswered.
This seeming indifference can be disheartening.  We reason, “If they were interested, they would have called back – at least after the third message I left!”  And, “If they weren’t willing to call me, they definitely won’t want to give any money.”

 

Persistence in Raising Missions Funds is Preparation for Ministry on the Field.

Here is one way that raising support for missions is excellent preparation for the missions field: we must act as though the future can and will be different.

What do I mean by this?  If many people don’t call you back, you can be discouraged by assuming that it will always be that way in the future – nobody will ever call you back.  People will always be indifferent!

However, that is not true.  You must be persistent because somebody will respond, and somebody will want to hear about your ministry, and some will want to partner with you.

In the same way, when you are ministering on the field, you can become discouraged by assuming that the future will always be like the past.  You will never learn the language.  People will always do this.  This situation is hopeless, and it won’t change.

Again, those aren’t true.

If change were not needed, your ministry wouldn’t be needed.

So we must remain strong in our belief that the future will not be like the past.  There can be change, whether it’s returned phone calls or changed lives through our ministry.

Going through the tough work of raising missions support is great preparation for the challenge of serving as a missionary.

How Persistence paid off for me.

In the case studies of the Platinum Edition of Be a Fully Funded Missionary, I share the exact timeline and steps taken to raise support from churches.

I called one church to no avail for months.  After about a whole year of being ignored, they finally asked me to speak to the missions committee for a short time.

The end result: they are now the supporting church that gives the highest percentage of our support budget out of all of our supporters.

They are also prayerful and encouraging in many ways.

Lesson learned.  If I had stopped calling after even six months, they probably would not be supporting us right now.

How to be Persistent while Raising Missions Funds.

One thing I say you must have to raise missions support is a buddy.  You need an accountability partner.  Meet with this person at least once every other week, and have them available to encourage you and to ask you questions: are you making the phone calls and emails?  Or are you constantly putting them off, always finding something better to do?

Also, if you are getting no response from a potential supporting church, try a different avenue of contact.  If you called, try email.  If you emailed, try the phone.  Use that ancient thing called a phone book if you have to!  (Be sure to be able to answer how you got somebody’s contact information so that they don’t feel like you are invading on their privacy).

So, two keys for persistence:

  • Accountability.
  • Try a different avenue.

Next week we will look at Confession #3.

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