Friend Raising by Betty Barnett: How to Ask (part seven).

Finger face with a question by Tsahi Levent-Levi on FlickrEven the most extroverted and charming missionaries can fall apart when it actually comes to asking for financial support.

The “ask” for financial funds can come off as painfully awkward.  Or, worse yet, the “ask” may never take place; the missionary assumes that the prospective donor reads between the lines.

So, in practice, how do you “ask.”

Betty’s Advice on how to ask for Missionary Support.

In Chapter 6 of Friend Raising, Betty gives some practical tips.

“Be careful not to select the people you think should give.  God does the selecting; we do the communicating.”

Totally spot on.  It is nearly impossible to predict who will give, and who will not.  It’s tough not to be disappointed when some people you had selected decide not too give.  Just remember, you don’t really do the selecting.  Also, you will get enough pleasant surprises from those who do give that you can’t afford to select people!

Here are the exact words Betty recommends for the ask:

“Would you pray about supporting me monthly?  It could range anywhere from $5 a month to $100, or however God leads you.  But please don’t feel pressured; it’s simply an invitation to pray.”

You can see why this is wise.  Almost everybody will be willing to pray.  If they are willing to take that first small step, they will be more likely to take the next step to financially give.

I, and many others, would recommend that you ask for higher amounts.  The potential donor may have been planning to give $300 per month.  If $100 is the upper limit you mention, then they will probably not give more than that.  When speaking with individuals, you can tweak it some: “Some partners give $500 per month, but most range anywhere from $5 a month to $100.”

When you “ask” from a church, or a missions committee at a church, I recommend that you ask high.  Many churches have the ability to give more than the average individual, so get used to asking high from churches.  However, instead of asking for $800 per month from a church, consider asking for a percentage of your monthly budget.  Asking for 10% of your monthly support is a good target.

Encouragement to “Ask.”

If you have been raising missionary support, I’ll bet you’ve had some disastrous “asks.”  They may discourage and paralyze you now, but you will laugh about them in the future.  Learn from them and improve from them.  For the good of others, continue to “ask.”
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