A Realistic Conversion Rate to Gain Supporting Churches, and Why it’s Meaningless to You.

Tell yourself the truth: Have you pondered how many people and churches you will have to ask support from in order to become a fully funded missionary?

That is, we all know less than 100% of people we ask will support our ministry, and so we have to ask a lot more people. At times, we may feel like about 0% will financially partner with us in ministry.

After raising support for several years and working with missionaries raising support, my back of the envelope calculations reveal a realistic conversion rate of how many churches you contact will end up financially partnering with you.

Here it is: About 10%.

A statistician would cringe at my crude calculation methods, but here’s why it doesn’t matter.

One Average Number Gives the Illusion of Uniformity in Support Raising.

You will get the low hanging fruit first: your home church, the church your spouse grew up in, and so on. At first, you may feel like 75% of churches you contact will support you.

But then you’ll contact churches that are geographically farther away, and churches that have less of a personal connection with you. Then you feel like nobody is going to support you!

But then, after a budget cycle, a few churches will start supporting you at nearly the same time.

So your actual support level graph will look quite jagged, and this belies the one 10% number you have in mind.

Every Situation is Different.

My rough calculations don’t deal with thousands of missionaries in every conceivable situation. If you are in an area with fewer churches your rate could be less. If you spend more time following up with individuals instead of churches, your rate could be less with churches. If you have pastored at a series of healthy churches and have a large extended family of Christians, your rate could be much higher.

Some Churches May start Supporting you Years from Now, thus Increasing the Rate.

This happens more than you suspect. A church may receive your prayer emails, even listen to you speak once, and then they will watch from a distance. After a few years of faithfulness, they will start supporting you. This will increase your rate, and it’s so encouraging when it happens.

How to Use the 10% Rule of Thumb.

If you want to gain five more supporting churches, know that you will need to start contacting about fifty churches. Again, everybody’s situation is different, but that is the number you need to aim for. Some of those fifty will ignore you, and some will waffle, but some will end up supporting you.

However, don’t start contacting all fifty at the same time. It will overwhelm you. Instead, start working in groups of twelve to twenty. With a goal of reaching out to fifty churches, you may start with four groups. Start contacting the first group, and then wait a week or two before contacting the next group. After about a month, you will have made that initial contact with all fifty churches.

If you want more strategies to overcome all of the hurdles to raise missionary support from churches, join the Be a Fully Funded Missionary newsletter and see if buying the course will be a good fit for you. You will get a free download: Best Online Resources for Missionaries (That aren’t for missionaries).

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