You Don’t Raise Missionary Support for the Money. Or, What to Say when Others Say they Don’t Have Money to Give.

401(k) 2012 @flickrHave you met “successful” business people who seem to be in it for the money alone?

It may feel like there are many such people, if you don’t have your own business that makes a living for you.  However, I suspect that many such business people aren’t in it for the money alone.

I’ll bet they love some aspect of their business.  Even if it’s just winning in a competitive market, they aren’t doing it for the money alone.

This fits with what The Personal MBA author Josh Kaufman calls the Mercenary Rule.

[This post is part of a year long series on what missionaries raising support can learn from business.  Check out why.]

Why You Can’t Do It Just for the Money.

In business, far more work is required than you initially thought.  If all you want is money, all of that work upfront to get your new business going will stop you before you reach that money.

“If the only thing that interests you about an opportunity is the money, you’ll probably quit well before you find the pot of gold at the bottom of the landfill.”

The same principle applies to raising missionary support: you can’t do it for the money alone.

If you focus solely on that monthly number you must reach, then you will have a very tough time raising your support.

This is so tough because, until that monthly support amount is reached, you can’t depart for the missions field.  That money is necessary, just as it is necessary in business, but money can’t be your main objective.

Others will Assume Your Only Goal is Money.

If you contact a potential donor, whether an individual or a church, some of them will politely decline because they don’t have any money to give.  They assume that your only goal is to get money.

Sadly, too many missionaries tacitly agree to that, and they move on to other potential donors.

If Money truly is not your main goal in raising missionary support, then you can sidestep the objection when others say they can’t give.

What I Say When Others Say They Don’t Dave Any Money.

Usually when somebody objects this way, they say something like this: “Are you trying to raise funds for your ministry?  If so, I’m really sorry, but I can tell you that we (as a family or church) don’t have any extra money to give right now.  We really love what you’re doing, but there’s no possibility of financial support.”

They often feel like they are doing you a favor by saving your time.  Now, if your main goal in raising support is money, then you indeed would not bother to share with that person or church.

But if your main goal truly is something else, you can continue the conversation.  Here’s what I say (and it works great, by the way, because it’s true): “Well, you are right that I do need to raise some funds for missions work, but that’s not my main goal.  When I’m here in the States, my task is to encourage and mobilize the [church/people] for missions, and sharing about what God is doing through this ministry is how I do that.  So, I still want to find an opportunity that I could share with you.”

Now, you’ll need to adjust this for yourself and for different people or churches, but it will basically work for you.  In BFFM, I call this your WHY? statement, and I give you more instructions on how to craft your own.  However, most can modify the above paragraph to fit your situation.

Be a Fully Funded Missionary_3D Web

What often happens is that some people do discover that they do indeed have money to give.  Or, they refer you to somebody else who has money to give.

Once people sense that you are not a mercenary, they will see that you are a servant.  That’s the type of missionary people want to support.


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One Response to “You Don’t Raise Missionary Support for the Money. Or, What to Say when Others Say they Don’t Have Money to Give.”

  1. Bryan Entzminger May 13, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    This was very timely, Darius. I just interviewed a lady last night who found her footing in fundraising when she found her “why” in kids.

    She was at the point of asking herself if she should quit her ministry because it felt like all she was doing was fundraising. But she came to the realization that if all she did in her ministry for the rest of her life was raise money so that kids could experience the love of God in a practical way, that was enough.

    Fortunately, that’s not all she does. But it was a real turning point for her.

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