When we asked “How Many Supporters Will you Need?” we assumed some averages. As you are probably finding out, supporters aren’t all average!
80/20 Principle in Raising Missionary Support.
There is something economists call the 80/20 principle. It applies to many aspects of life. Simply put, 20% of inputs result in 80% of the outputs. (It doesn’t matter that they add up to 100. In some instances, 5% of inputs result in 75% of the results. The point is that inputs do not equal outputs.)
So what does this mean for raising funds for missions?
You can’t rely on averages.
I don’t know for sure, but my best guesstimate is that a monthly supporter of a missionary gives on average $60 towards that missionary.
Of course, there is a range. Here’s where the 80/20 principle comes in.
Let’s assume that you are raising funds for your whole family to serve overseas as missionaries. This could mean that you need $10,000 of monthly support.
Once you have those funds raised, you will probably see the 80/20 principle in action. That is, 80% of your support dollars will come from 20% of your partners. If you have 100 monthly supporters, this means that 80% of your monthly support would come from just 20 individuals.
Those 20 supporters would average $400 per month.
The remaining 80 supporters would be giving an average of $25 per month.
There’s a big difference between the two!
These are of course very rough numbers, but they do sufficiently illustrate a point.
Apply the 80/20 Rule to Raising Missionary Support.
Ask donors to partner financially at a high level. You will need some of them to give hundred, even thousands, of dollars per month.
Don’t be discouraged by donors who give “only” $15 per month.
Another key application: a face-to-face meeting with an individual potential giver to ask for a monthly partnership gets big results.
Likewise, meeting personally with a church’s missions committee and challenging to partner with you financially gets big results.
With churches or individuals, face-to-face time with potential financial partners is the most effective use of time.