Are you raising money for Christian ministry? Steve Shadrach shows you how to do it, especially if you're raising your personal support. He is an expert who's not only taught thousands, he's walked the talk. He's lived on support for the last 27 years, and retaining about 90% of those supporters over all that time. In this training, you'll learn:
- why raising your own support is Biblical
- how to get out of being your own worst enemy
- how to plan a budget that is realistic, not Ramen
- and how to effectively, confidently, ask people for support!
Join this packed hour of training that will help you get your heart right, get your head right, and get your ministry fully funded.
To get a free copy of the booklet "Fully Funding Your Ministry," go to www.SupportRaisingSolutions.com and sign up for the great email newsletter.
Additional Resources to 5 Keys to Raising Your Ministry Support
Download the audio here: 5 Keys to Raising Your Ministry Support MP3
Download the slides here: 5 Keys to Raising Your Ministry Support PDF
Transcript of the Training
Marc: Well, welcome to the Nonprofit Academy Presents training series. My name is Marc
Pitman. I am your host. Thrilled today to have a special guest in our series, Steve Shadrach. I know that there are a lot of organizations that have been part of the non-profit academy that are doing ministry.
They can learn fundraising from a lot of different perspectives but they are actually… your goal, what you are trying to do is raise money for some sort of ministry, Christian ministry whether it is raising your personal missionary support or helping out in different areas of furthering the ministry or in church fundraising.
And so I've asked Steve to come in and give us perspective on that. Steve and I met back I guess it was about a year and a half ago at Boulder, Colorado at a funding ministry symposium and it's easy to be impressed by Steve. He's trained thousands of people in raising ground support for Christian ministry.
He is the executive director of the Center for Mission Mobilization. He is also the Ministry Director at Support Raising Solutions. He has written a book, he has written a lot of books but one of them that was brought to my attention was “The God Ask” which gives a real biblical approach, a fresh look at raising your own personal support.
So without further ado, oh one other thing of housekeeping, if you've got questions you can raise your hand by pressing star two and I'll be watching that. You can also tweet them to, with the #NPApresents and for non-P for profit academy presents and that hashtag, I'll see those, and if e-mail is more comfortable for you my email is email@example.com. You can e-mail me there too.
So Steve, why don't we just jump in and thanks so much for being here.
Steve: Well, it's great being with you Marcand your audience and you did forget to mention
my three grandchildren though. That's my greatest claim to fame.
Marc: Good for you.
Steve: I've got lots of slides to show everyone if they don't mind.
Marc: Let's do it. All of them. Okay.
Steve: So no it's great to be with you, Marc.
Marc: Well, thanks so much and feel free to just jump right in and we will, if I have
questions that pop during the time I will be sure to let you know but otherwise we will leave time at the end for question and answers.
Steve: Well, feel free to break in at any time. That would be, probably interaction would
probably be more interesting for everyone but I will just get started. Most of the information and materials that I am going to go over today is at a particular website supportraisingsolutions.org. So you can certainly write that down and take a look at some of the resources we are offering.
Support raisers and organizations really all over the planet but and I've been on support now I think it is twenty seven years and so I've made every mistake there is to make but I wouldn't want to do it any other way.
And so the experience of putting together a team of family and friends and churches who believe in us and stand behind us and partner with us as do this ministry as just been one of life's greatest experiences.
So I'm a big fan of this idea of personal support raising. That's kind of the phrase that we use many times. Some groups are using the phrase by the way MPD. You might write that down and it stands for Ministry Partner Development. I love that but it's really the same concept.
And one common denominator that we are trying to lay as a foundation here is this idea of support raising, is it in the scriptures? Is it in the Bible? And that's been a lifelong study of mine, the Scriptures, and one of the subjects I love to dive into is does the Bible teach this idea of living and ministering from support?
And so I think there are Old Testament and New Testament verses that would give us some basis to say yes support raising is in the Scripture.
In fact, I believe it is God's idea and so when He has nation of Israel that he was bringing out of Egypt and getting set up with their own land there in the land of Canaan. He had established one particular tribe called the Levites.
He picked one tribe out of the twelve and he said you are going to be my representatives, you are going to be my priests, and he wanted them to live totally live and minister totally off of support.
And so, he had a whole chapter there in the book of Numbers, Numbers 18 that taught the Levites how they were to live and minister off the support of all of the other Israelites.
So it's God's idea to have full time workers. It was God's idea to have them being supported by others. It wasn't something that any man made up but it was God that came up with that idea first and so there are other examples in the Old Testament, Nehemiah is a great one, and others.
But the greatest example is in the New Testament, it's Jesus himself. And it's a little hard to believe that the Son of God would come to Earth, live here 33 years among us, and during his 3 years of ministry would actually choose to live off the support of others.
And so during those three years, He and his men lived off the ongoing financial investments of individuals and Luke Chapter 8 is where it first indicates how he did that. And so if the Son of God was willing to live off and minister off the support of others, I think we ought to be willing to.
I know of some people who seem to be too prideful to invite others to partner with them and to live off supports of others to do their ministry, and yet, that's exactly what Jesus did and so we need to set aside our pride and maybe put our little wristband on W.W.J.D. What Would Jesus Do?
He taught that in Matthew 10. He taught that the kingdom worker is worthy of the wage and so he wanted us followers, his disciples to know that as people were investing in you to do your work, you are worthy of the wage.
And sometimes we have a hard time believing that about ourselves, not in an arrogant, demanding, entitlement way but we can know if we are called to ministry that we deserve to be supported by the ongoing gifts of others. We are worthy of the wage.
Paul was probably the greatest example in the New Testament of a man who really purposefully, almost aggressively chose to live off the support of churches and individuals. So, so much of our theology of support is taken from the Pauline letters.
In Acts 18, he actually was working part time as a tent maker but transitioned from making tents to full time ministry. That was his preferred mode. His preferred way to operate was to transition from any kind of part time work he was doing to be able to preach full time.
He even got frustrated at times. First Corinthians 9 is an interesting chapter where Paul is kind of almost berating the Corinthians. They were known to be kind of immature church. They were accusing him of doing his ministry for profit, for personal gain, and he just kind of lambasted them.
In the first six verses, just asks a machine gun series of questions about, do I not have the right to live off support and is the worker not worthy of his wage? And he's just letting them know what their responsibilities are to invest in the ministry and so he would support that thinking in so many different places, so many different ways.
So that's just a little bit of a highlight mark of the … just a quick overview. We go into so much more depth in this book “The God Ask” of what the biblical basis is but those are a few Old and New Testament verses that maybe your listeners might write down and kind of check out and say, “Golly, is this really true? Does the Bible really teach this stuff?” And of course, I really think it does so.
Marc: Yeah and it's really good to have it. And I'm glad you had both Hebrew and Christian
Scriptures because that just does show it’s God’s idea. I know you are just touching on the very tips of the peaks.
There's a lot more depth underneath each of these but thank you. I have been doing this for 20 years. I felt myself feeling very comfortable again as, you know this is okay, this is normal.
Steve: You know when you are sitting at a support appointment especially one that can be kind
of intimidating you know you are up in that tent four penthouse office building sitting across from some big powerful CEO and he's eyeballing you.
And you feel like a little ant there sitting across from his power desk and you are holding your little Diet Coke, you know, and he kind of dismisses and makes you feel like a small person.
Some do that. Many do not. I'm not trying to stereotype but I'm just saying that there will be times when we will feel rejected. We will feel insignificant and made to feel like a beggar almost sometimes.
And unless we have some scripture that's forming our conviction, we will walk out of that office wanting to give up and never wanting to approach another person because there can be setbacks and rejections but if we have some Biblical foundation, well, that keeps us in the right, that galvanizes our convictions and pushes us onto to get past some of those challenging appointments so.
And really that's kind of the second point I'm going through today with your listeners is what I call the “Five Keys to Raising your Personal Support.” I should have mentioned that on the front end. It's a little booklet that I would love to put in your hands that it's just a simple little tool that kind of gives an overview of what our philosophy of support raising is.
Well, the first one is to understand the Biblical basis but the second one is to kill these giants in our minds. It's just human nature to have these obstacles, these brick walls, these tapes that we've got playing in the back of our mind as to why this isn't the way to do our ministry or why people won't to give to us or why we are unworthy and so forth.
I've listed four giants that we really need to kill. We can't really do it on our own power but I think that if we turn to God and say “Lord, please, destroy these tapes in my mind of what these giants looming in my mind are and replace them with your Scripture, with your thoughts.” I think we can have some victory in this area.
Let me just touch on the four giants that seem to be pretty common out there. One is that you or your family think support raising is really just begging. My dad and my brothers were all businessmen, successful businessmen, and when they heard I was going into ministry, they were proud of me but then when they heard I was going to be raising my support, something they were unfamiliar with, boy, did their grins turn to you know sour faces.
They said, “I didn't raise my son to be a beggar,” and so they had never studied the Scriptures about this idea of that it is Biblical to raise support. It is Biblical like Jesus and Paul did to live and minister off support and so that was a huge giant in my mind. “Gosh, my family, my friends, others are going to think I am just a beggar who can't get a job.” And so studying the Scriptures certainly helped me conquer that giant.
Number two is that we think we are not a worthy investment. To look someone deep in the eyes and say, “Will you invest $50.00, $100.00, $200.00, $300.00 a month or more into me and my ministry?” Well that's hard to do.
You know they are wanting to place their funds with someone who there's going to be good ROI, return on investment. Unless we truly believe in our heart of hearts that their investment in us is going to pay some great spiritual, eternal dividends, it's hard to ask. And so to know that we are a worthy investment is a giant we've got to conquer.
Number three there, letter “C” on that slide, is you think support raising is just a necessary evil to be a doer. This is so common. And I think that you know a lot of organizations acquire their staff to raise their support.
I have known for several years that if a staff person goes and raises their support because they are required to not because they want to or choose to.
Boy, it's going to be a tough assignment for them and they may not make it to full support because when they get in those supportive assignments the people they are meeting with sense this is not… they are not doing this from the “want to”, they are doing this from the “ought to”.
They are obligated or required, they haven't truly embraced this idea of support raising and so unless a person has truly embraced this and said this is what God wants me to do.
I desire to fully embrace this idea of raising my support and building this partnership my team I realize they will never experience all God wants them to experience.
And then lastly Marc, on this kill the giant section is when we have no's, when we got no's in our appointments and we do get no's. I regularly still get no's to asking people for support, had several last month.
Marc: You mean those don't go away?
Steve: That's right. The fear never goes away of rejection but we are going to be rejected at
times and so the temptation is to take that personally. They don't like me. They don't respect me. Somehow I must have acne on my face or there's something about me that they are rejecting.
And I think we have to get past that and trust God enough and trust them enough to know they are big enough, they are mature enough, they are spiritual enough to go God and ask Him should they or should they not invest in me in this ministry and not let us take it personally.
So there are other giants. So your listeners may have some other giants that they have come up against or that some of their co-workers have come up against but it may be some that you have observed over the years too, Marc, but those are at least four that are pretty common up there that support raisers seem to really battle on a regular basis.
Marc: Well since those -- I know we are going to do question and answer at the end and just
remind everyone that if you have questions feel free to tweet at NPA presents, #NPA presents.
But one of the questions I get from people that are, when they are really down and out. You know, they are really having those, just they are feeling the rejection that you were talking about and it was shocking to hear even after twenty seven years you still get no's.
Marc: Because the way you -- the way you presented it too was that person, it's their money,
and their relationship with God and you've got it believe that they are listening to God's leading too about how they invest their money.
What have you done because the question is what have you done to discern whether it's a no for now, you know this is just something I am not going to give to you or is it God's voice indicating your calling is wrong?
You've messed up your calling. I mean how do you separate that? Because I think a lot of people struggle with that one. The cash isn't coming in like they expect it to.
Steve: Well, I think that it is obviously best to think and pray through before you begin your
support raising is this what God wants me to do? I have gotten counseled from family and friends and spiritual advisers?
Have I gone to the Scriptures? Have I really got a clear sense of calling here before I launch out into support raising because support raising has a way…
You will question God's call in your life, there is no question because -- and I think that's good because it can galvanize you when you get those no's.
Now if someone feels called in the ministry, feels called to support raising, and they start into support raising and it's just not happening. They are just not getting their team together.
There can be several things and we do a lot of you know we do a lot of troubleshooting in that sense in a biggie is, were they really trained? Did they really prepare well, get lots of good training before they launched out, or did they just think they could this without any kind of preparation or training?
And so, it doesn't just have to be “Gosh, I've got something wrong with my thinking.” It could be they didn't get the right preparation or we do role plays with people we say, “Now call me up like I am one of your supporters, practice making the appointment, and now let's meet together and practice making your presentation and now practice making the ask.”
Make sure you zip the whip and let the person answer. You know we go through the whole process and we can evaluate them and kind of fine tune them to make sure are they looking that person right in the eye? Are they clear about how they are making their presentation and their ask?
And yet, Marc, there have been times over the years when someone has taken 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months or more to raise their support. At some point, it would be wise to take stock and really ask some tough questions.
And there have been a few times over the years where we have had to tell someone, “You know I just don't think it's going to happen. You have taken a whole year or longer and you haven't made much progress.
“We want to release you to go do this next thing that God may want you to do but for now we don't think this is what you ought to be doing.” So that's a hard conversation to have.
Marc: And I think that's… Yeah, it is a very hard conversation and I had this a church planner.
After four years of planting a church, by vocation I realized we had that same conversation this is not working. Part of it was we had a different definition of success. We were looking at one indicator.
In retrospect, if we did some other indicators, we were doing a lot of things right but it was, the releasing also was graceful too.
But what I like that you are saying it that it's not just either or. There's a lot of things in between which I know we are going to get into in the remaining points about how you are doing your ask, how are you telling your story so that's a really good nuance that I think a lot of people forget so.
Steve: Well the third point kind of segues into that thought Marcwhere -- this idea of praying
and planning. Most of us especially in our younger years we want to you know -- you know shoot first and then aim and I think that...
Marc: I guess it didn't say “worry” and “fret.” It says pray and plan.
Steve: That's right, yeah. Yeah, it's the opposite side of the coin and support raising can get
shaking in your boots. I remember the one particular appointment I had early on, Marc, where I was asking kind of a successful businessman slash politician. I was going to ask him but I think for five or ten thousand dollars.
I don't remember the amount you know and my legs were shaking so bad that I had to use my notebook you know to cover them and I felt sure he was going to stop me and son, you need to use the restroom you know?
And so I made it through that appointment, and low and behold, I remember he gave me a $250.00 check that he had already made out in advance, and I kind of slithered out his door. And every single appointment you learn something though, you learn a lot about life. You learn a lot about yourself. Every appointment is an education, so.
Marc: Well, and you learn about communicating with people. So I think, I mean you will
probably talk about this but I think one of the things I find about fundraising is that it helps you do ministry better because you start learning what's important to people and how can you get what your goals are communicated in ways that other people can understand? Which you have to be, I think.
Steve: I think the greatest preparation for personal ministry is going out from scratch, putting
your plan together, praying hard and raising your full support. If you can start from scratch, beginning to end, get that accomplished.
Boy, do you have some great tools and skills and convictions that you have developed that are going to work so well out there on the campus or in the inner city or in the mission field or whatever your assignment is.
So I just, I love support raising. I think it ought to be a pre-requisite and a requirement for every single Christian worker before they get out there and do their ministry. Some organizations require their people to raise support. Some do not.
But I just, I think the ones who do not are really, I think, are missing out of giving their people some amazing life experience and preparation so.
Let's talk about preparation for a minute. This third step of these five keys that we are talking about here. The idea of praying and this quote from S. D. Gordon is always one of my favorites just where it says, “Prayer is the real work of the ministry, service is just gathering in the results of prayer”.
And so this idea of laying your life and your ministry and your support raising out there before God to bathe every single person and appointment in prayer. That God would go before you. This is what Nehemiah did in the Old Testament, in all of Chapter 1m Nehemiah, he bathed this appointment in prayer that he was going to have there in Chapter 2 with the king, a support appointment, is a great example I think.
But then you also have to create your budget and this you could probably use some help in your organization will probably have some guidelines as to what the ranges are, the categories are, you know most people choose a very low amount of their budget. Why? Well, because they don't want to have to raise their support.
That's about the weakest reason you could ever have. Not to have a live, realistic budget. I have seen a few that have padded it too much but the key is this, to build a budget that will maximize the fruitfulness of your family and your ministry.
And don't start with an amount. Don't go, “Well yeah, I think we could probably raise $3,000. Do you think we could fit our monthly expenses for our family of five into that?” Well, the answer is no.
So we help people create a budget that really maximizes the fruitfulness of their family, really maximizes the fruitfulness of their ministry and whatever that total is. Is it 5, 7, 9, 11, $13,000 per month? Those may sound like large amounts but everyone is different. Every family is different. Every ministry is different and so we have to help them do that.
The next stage of this planning well is to name storm and this you know this can be a very work intensive experience because we ask people to go through their entire life.
Go back as early as they can remember and put together, you know, a timeline of their life and put together hundreds upon hundreds of names of people that they have known or known of over the years and don't make any decisions yet as to whether they will give or not.
A legitimate brainstorm is there are no bad names. Well a legitimate name storm is -- I mean excuse me brainstorm, there are no bad ideas. A legitimate name store is there are no bad names. Don't play Holy Spirit. Get the names down on a piece of paper.
Start looking up addresses and phone numbers and cell numbers and so forth, e-mails and get that down before you make any decisions as to who will and will not give and so we like to have people kind of divide those in three categories. Hot, medium, and cold or high, medium, and low.
So three categories and the one group is these people are ones that are high priority they are probably going to be very open to coming on my team. The mediums one are gosh I don't know, it could be 50/50 and the lower priority are the ones that say, “Gosh, I don't know them very well, I don't know whether they would be open to supporting me but I'll put them on the list and I may need to go to them at some point down the line.”
And next, map out your plan, oh there it is, I kind of store mine under there, to map out your plan but then to start to pray over those names and those amounts.
One size does not fit all. If someone senses that you are just asking everybody for fifty dollars, you are kind of treating everybody like some big mooing herd. I think that turns them off. They want to know that you thought about them.
You've prayed about them. You've customized the ask to them and so I do that with every person what would be a realistic, challenging amount you know based upon my relationship with them or the past giving or what their salary may be or what -- you know there are all kind of factors that we list in the book that God has to help you kind of discern the amounts or the ranges that you ought to be asking people for.
And then lastly plan out a map of this little section here is to just -- don't think you can raise your support sitting at home. You've got to go to them. It can't just be on the phone. It can't just be on Skype video.
I know there's great technology out there to help us but I encourage the people that we train to make 90% of their asks make it face-to-face.
Because when you make it face to face even though you have to travel different cities to pack out your schedule with appointments in those different cities that you lived in in the past or you know people, when you go to them, it communicates two things: It communicates that you mean something to me. I care about you.
Secondly, what I have to say is very important but if I choose a lesser route just a phone call or an e-mail or a Skype or something it communicates that there really not that important to me and my message, what I have to say is really not that important to me.
I have seen that over and over again and sometimes, Marc, I will fly to kind of a remote location. I remember flying from Fayetteville Arkansas to Sacramento California just to see one person one time, not knowing whether he would come on team or not.
But the fact that I flew out there to see him and to meet with him, that meant something to him and he obviously knew that what I had to say was very important to be willing to do that.
And he has been, you know, our most significant giver over the years. And looking back I am so glad I did it in person rather than to take a shortcut on my approach.
Marc: And well that's -- I don't know if this has been your experience but in my experience the
further away you have to travel, the easier it is to get the appointment.
Steve: That's a great point. We've got one order that I remember, excuse me one staff member
that I remember flew to London for an appointment from here and he flew to Dubai for an appointment.
Steve: Now that communicated something to that person. They are not going to go, “I am too
busy to have lunch with you,” if you flew from Arkansas to Dubai you know. There are no direct flights from Arkansas to Dubai though I want you listeners to know.
Steve: So this idea of understanding the Biblical basis to somehow gain God's strength and
help to kill the giants in our mind, to really set aside not just days but weeks, if not months, to really pray, to really plan, to really map it out, and to get the training.
The training, the personal support raising bootcamps that we've offered around the country the last fifteen years. Can't tell you how many stories over the years of people that just benefited from getting some good solid training before they launched out.
And then the key, I think, Marc, is this fourth step that you have listed here on the slide, is asking face-to-face. And, you know, I don't know if any of our listeners are married out there. I have to believe some are.
I have been married now for 31 years. I choose a particular route to ask my wife to marry me. I did it face-to-face. So you know, you might laugh about that. Well, of course you did Steve.
Yet, with my wife, if I had choose any other way she probably would have still married me maybe but she would of -- if I would have said I'm just busy today I am going to give her a call and ask her or I am going to send -- you can tell how old I am, I would have -- the new deal when I was going through was fax machines you know.
What if I faxed her a marriage proposal you know? I think she would have said could we do a do over here. And now so...
Marc: And now today it might be like a Snapchat or an Instagram. “I will just Instagram her
Steve: Or if I downloaded a marriage proposal app on my iPhone, I think I’ll give it a try. So I
just think that human nature is we don't like to be rejected. We think we are busy and so we are going to choose every method we can to somehow sidetrack and go around, pulling in around this face-to-face challenge that I am giving.
“Steve, you don't know just how busy I am or you don't know how far I live away.” Or all these different reasons why people will say, “Well, I can't do it face-to-face,” and I think if people make more than 10% of their asks without doing it face-to-face, I think they have made some excuses. I think they have cut some corners and so I think asking is the key.
As I study my New Testament, 147 times in the New Testament alone is the idea of asking God or asking others is there. Asking is a key theme of the Scriptures. And of course, James four, two is a fun verse.
It says, “We have not because we ask not.” I have to believe that is a key. As you train people Marcaround the country and train organizations and consult you probably have to convince people in groups sometimes saying may I tell you what the key is? The key is getting in front of them and asking. We have not because we ask not. Isn't that true in so many situations?
Marc: That is so true. And not asking clearly. Generic would you support my ministry? It's so
-- I was just writing this in a book I'm working on this morning that that could be prayer. It could be sending clothing.
It could be any number of things. Generic would you support our ministry isn't clear. It's got to be a clear ask.
Steve: I call that hint-hint support raising. And it's just so common.
Marc: Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge, Know what I mean? Know what I mean?
Steve: It's just so petty. It's so embarrassing and I think these people when they are sitting there
with you and they are waiting for you to kind of be man enough or woman enough to look them in the eye, have enough confidence in your vision to share it, lay it out there, and then invite them to partner with you in a substantial way. Zip the lip. I am stealing my thunder here and let them answer.
They are big boys, big girls. Don't ask questions before. They know how to say yes or no. I just think there are waiting for that but if somebody kind of takes the slimy, slithering, you know, just kind of backseat, come in through the side door, hint-hint support raising in a real generic nebulous way, I just think people are going to say “I don't think this is the type of person I want to invest in. If this is the way they are going to ask me for support, I have to believe this is the way they are going to ask people out on campus or out on the mission field you know to commit their life to Christ. They are going to do it in a real measly way instead of you know real direct way,”
So really how we do our support raising in many ways is an incredible indicator of how we are going about doing our ministry and if we do it in sloppy, cut the corner kind of hint, hint way.
Well, that's an indicator of exactly how we are going to do our ministry and so don't cut corners. That's letter “B” here. I know that some of our listeners are probably great speakers. You can hold the audience in the palm of your hand but statistics show you are going to have people that will give more amounts, give more on a regular basis and stick with you on a longer period of time if you ask them face-to-face rather than large group settings or just use letters or just use phone calls.
The approach that we choose to raise our support will say everything about the amount people commit to, the consistency of their giving, and the longevity of them being on your team so don't think that cutting corners is going to help you.
You are going to find yourself one, two, three years down the road and you lost a lot of supporters. Why? Because of the way you solicited them or invited them, excuse me that's a better word, invited them to partner with you on the front end.
And there it is. Don't be fooled. How you go about securing your commitment and so as you can tell I am a big advocate, a big proponent, whether you are asking someone to marry you, whether you need to have a heart to heart talk, late night talk with a teenager who is kind of gotten off track, whether you are hiring or firing someone.
Or whether you are inviting them to join you, possibly for a lifetime of supporting you and partnering with you in your ministry, there is absolutely no substitute, anywhere on the globe. It's the way God has made us. The personal approach, face to face, heart to heart is always going to be the best.
Marc: And it shouldn't surprise us because our God had to become incarnate. He choose to –
‘Jesus was incarnate in the flesh face to face walking amongst us and that's what got us. That's when we finally understood oh that's He has been saying through Hebrew Scriptures. “Oh, He wants a relationship with us that intimately.” So why would we be any different? Why wouldn't we need to talk to people that way?
Steve: Well, it's just -- it's the best way to communicate. It really is and that number five of just
cultivating the relationship. I have said for years that support raising is not about money, it is not about budget, it is not about needs. I don't use the word need anymore. God meets my needs.
Support raising is about vision and relationships and it's so when we got into our appointments we don't go in with our budget. We go in with our vision. We go in with our dream. That's what people -- that's the one thing that our listeners today probably possess in those support appointments that those donors do not. Each person here, each worker has a ministry vision and that potential giver may not have one of us.
Now they have got resources but they were waiting for some great commission worker to step into their office and be vision driven not budget driven to lay out their dream before them and really that they can partner with and invest in but from that point on it's a relationship. To me the appointment is an opportunity to build that relationship and share the vision.
So number five is once you have got your team established. Once you are one hundred percent. I would like for you to take a day off and wipe the sweat off your brow and go buy your wife a steak dinner you know and take the night off you know but the next day is the day to begin actually cultivating relationships of your support team.
Caroline and I, my wife and I, we probably have about 50 monthly supporters. We have three monthly churches that give to us monthly and then about 30 people that give kind of annually or sporadically. And that's our team.
I mean that's about 80 people or entities that we can wrap our arms around. I mean one guy bragged that he's got 300 people on his support team. Well, that's nothing to brag about because you can't really cultivate 300 relationships like that.
Another guy I remember bragging, he got 100 churches on his team. Well, that's nothing to brag about. How in the world can you stay in good touch, contact with a 100 different churches, especially if a lot of those churches have strings attached to their monthly gifts?
So keep your team reasonably small or at least medium in size. You do want to have enough to have a diversified portfolio. You don't want to have that one big sugar daddy that boy if those guy loses his job your whole team is sunk but don't make it so big that you can't truly cultivate the relationship and I like to encourage people to tie their, 10% of their time on a weekly or monthly basis they would be praying for their supporters, they be writing them, calling them, texting them, following them on Facebook.
I just -- social media is such a great way now to keep in touch with all of your supporters. It's just a blessing from God. And to thank before you bank. So I like to thank someone when I get a new gift or a new supporter or an increase or a surprise or something.
Within 48 hours, boom, I will call, I am just in shock, I will act like I'm just, you know, “Steve, I just opened up the mail and there was your gift and thank you so much.” What most Christian workers do is they don't do anything.
They get a gift new or gift or an increase and 1 week, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 weeks go by and that supporter never hears from them. That will probably be the last gift they ever get. So thank before you bank. To regularly send well written newsletters. These can be hard copies or email versions.
Different people are using -- we have different examples of newsletters on our Support Raising Solution dot org that you can do it. But make sure your newsletters are focused on vision and changed lives.
Don't do hint-hint support raising in your newsletters. Don't hide it in the prayer requests that you need money. I ask people face-to-face to invest in us and I don't ruin our newsletter by somehow trying to make it a fundraising vehicle.
You better major on vision, on what your vision is and changed lives every single newsletter keep that out in front of them.
And then lastly on this Marc, this idea of win, keep, and lift. That's not original with me. I never had an original thought in all of my life but this is a good one that I borrowed from a fellow support raiser.
The idea of winning them on their team. Praise God. Now that they are investing in you, part of the team but now you have to keep them. You have to kind of play defense now. If you played offense and you won them, now it's defense to keep them and to care about them and to appreciate them and make them feel involved and informed and you don't want to lose them.
You want them on your team for years and years to come but then this lift idea is to gradually increase them. If they came on your team for a hundred dollars a month, well every two or three years come back to them and say thank you so much, you have been so faithful like clockwork to give a $100.00 every single month.
We are about to launch this new ministry, we are about to go off and initiate this new work so we are putting together another thousand dollars of monthly supporters coming back to some of our key supporters and asking would they consider increasing their investment?
And so would you be open to moving to a $150.00 or maybe even $200.00 a month? And so this gradual lifting that we can do with our supporters over the years, I would say probably close to 90% Marc, of the people that came on our support team in 1986, you can believe that? That's when we raised our support initially. Probably close to 90% of people are still on our team today.
Steve: Some of their children are now on our team as well and it's because we have been
focused on the relationship and they've also increased, increased, increased, increased over the years if they are able to and so my best friends in life.
You know we have friends from different sectors of our life but in some ways my very best friends are my supporters. They just -- if I stick with them over the years, they will stick with me. And so the relationship...
Marc: What I like about this though, Steve, is that the relationship starts with a clear ask and so
it's not …one of the problems I have with some fundraising terminology is that people that are afraid to make the ask, invite people to support them will just say, “I am making friends,” so they will never get around to popping the question.
And then I never would have got around to getting married that way either. The woman who became my wife would have found somebody else who had a little more direction. She wouldn't want eternal dating. She would want to know what's the agenda?
But then I love that you can develop those -- you are absolutely right and to really mutual friendships that they are getting something by you know they are growing in the Lord in part because they are investing in your ministry, you are growing, yeah, I like that.
Steve: Well, we can stop for questions Marc.
Marc: Yeah, let’s do that.
Steve: Or I know we have a few little, kind of, resource slides here that I could touch on. You tell me I can go through those resources briefly or we can do questions now. What would you prefer?
Marc: Yeah, we will leave this slide up and we will do the questions. And save some time
because I really want to make sure people see the resources that you have to offer that they can go and get more but one of the -- but first of all I just want to even on this slide here the relationship and the vision, vision and relationship.
One of the great things about asking well, and asking with vision and relationship is that we are supporting missionaries that fairly for us is a large number and from what I've heard from the funding your missionary symposium it's one of the higher numbers for support raising typically.
It's a consistent number but it's higher and when they went out, they went out to do something totally different than what they were doing. They went out with a very clear vision, very clear mission. It was one we got, we understood.
When they got on the ground, they realized that they were so far off base. What their environment needed wasn't enough for what they were going to do. They got a whole new heart for the people and ministering to the people around them and because they did it on vision and mission and relationship.
It was so easy. If it had been off budget, we would have said well we are investing in this project and now you are doing something else. So we were investing in people and the kingdom so it's been easy to stick with them for years.
I can see them wrestle with how do we communicate this to people and for us it was hey guys, you don't have to apologize we are so blessed that you are hearing from God, you are moving forward, and doing something he's inviting you into instead of force your own agenda.
Why burn in Ishmael, when you can keep doing what you are supposed to be doing? So I love that. That was just a comment on that.
But couple of questions that are coming up and one of them is you mentioned on the first and last slides the word tithe. How does that, how do you work and consider support raising to be as part of people's tithing or do you… how do you keep that in stone, not tick off their pastors? What are some of your thoughts on that?
Steve: Well, I've been on both sides of the fence. I was a pastor for years and you know para
church for years and graduate degree in church and para church, executive leadership so you know it's amazing if you view the concept of giving and even what the Bible teaches on giving, depending upon whether you are part of a church or a parish.
That's amazing how that influences our theology you know. You know I've done a study on this and it's so unclear. Like I remember I had five or six commentaries out in front of my desk one day trying to really understand all of the scholars to what the Old Testament tithe really was.
And some said it was 23%, some 23-1/2, some 24, some 25, one person 33, one person 50%, you know, including taxes and so to speak but so there's absolutely no clear indication of what the tithe and the offerings really were required of the Old Testament people there and but that wouldn't preach very well in today's Church would it?
If everybody said, “Now, we want everyone to give 24-1/2 % to the Church,” and so there's been a lot of think confusion about the tithe.
It's interesting that Jesus doesn't talk anything about the tithe. The only two times that he ever mentions the tithe is when he's lambasting the Pharisees for, you know, putting such an emphasis on tithing.
He teaches principles. You know, to give generously and secretly, and to give joyously and to give regularly, and so alter the New Testament it's almost, it is purely principles and so I quit teaching tithing, Marc.
I think that people will probably give their 10% and check it off, kind of, I've done my little religious duty and then they move on and they think the 90% belongs to them. I teach generous giving and where tithing is just the beginning point.
It's just the little, you know, training wheels of giving and so I think if we can teach people principles rather than percentages they are going to be a lot of freer in their giving and they are giving a lot more.
So I don't get into the conversations with people in appointments. If they say to me, now Steve you are asking us to come on your support team for a hundred dollars a month, are you telling us that we should take $100.00 away from our tithe from our church and give it to you instead? Well that's a hot potato right there.
Steve: I would say, “No sir.” I would dare not tell you where to give your funds. You give
exactly where God wants you to give but regardless of whatever means or formulas you use in your giving I still want to ask you to pray about coming on our team and investing in me. I don't try to get into the tithing.
What I personally believe based on my personal studies but I don't use. I don't even really try to make it teaching time or response time in support appointments and touch the topic of tithing but I do leave my ask there.
I don't pull back my ask because they have some sort of strict tithing regulations they are operating from.
Marc: Nice. Yeah, for me, I know that the studies consistent, from what I've read, consistently
show that you can quote on quote tithers, people that say they tithe generally are giving 2% of their income to charity.
Steve: Yeah that word is so abused.
Marc: Whether it is church or not. Yeah it is totally abused. Yeah so I always felt freedom and
one of my early mentors mentioned stewardship giving include us in your stewardship giving.
Marc: And that builds on what you said about tithing is just training wheels. Really, if we are
growing in our relationship, we are growing above and beyond the tithe and so that's -- there's a lot there but I like your just not even emphasizing with tithe at all.
I know we are coming to the end of our time so I want to just get one more question in and then you have you go through your resources.
But the other question that is coming up is the whole budgeting idea. There's how do you wrestle with… are there any tips on creating a real budget versus the ramen noodle budget? Because again it hits your personal…
I mean fundraising brings out all sorts of stuff within us. So part of us is the whole like you said are we worth it? The other part is though the perception of the people, the scary perception of people out there, they are maybe not making as much as we’re raising or the -- just all of that.
But so, I run into people all the time that are praising out support that are pleased that they are 60% when you know Scott Morton in “Funding Your Ministry”, talks about how he isn't necessarily pleased with that.
You are not honoring God when you are leaving spouse trying to figure out how to scrimp and save. So any tips on just some real practical nuggets on how to develop a real ministry, real budget, unapologetically?
Steve: Well, you got to get a real budget sheet. You can get one in the book “The God Ask” or
on the website, you know, just get a good thorough budget sheet that lists all of the items, every single category.
And then together with your spouse, go through there and say let's not, let's not puff up this budget but let's not take a ramen noodles approach that we are just going to, you know, that somehow poverty equals spirituality either here.
Let's go through here and let's use this lens what would maximize the fruitfulness of our family? And so it could be they decide to send their kids to private Christian school. Well that's going to cost money. Or it could be they decide, I hope they decide to take an annual vacation to recharge and reunite, annual Sabbath as a family.
Well that's probably going to cost thousands of dollars and so you know do they want to set aside money into some sort of fund you know? That's going to cost money. What about college education and so forth? And so really start to evaluate what maximizing your fruitfulness of your family means.
It's going to end up being a significant budget and someone questions -- I've never had anyone question me about my budget or my lifestyle in I think twenty six or twenty seven years.
If someone wanted to question me for setting aside funds each month for in a mutual fund or someone wanted to question me for taking my family on vacation or something, you know, I would be very, I would try to keep a very straight face with them Marcyou know but inside I would want to say to them get a life, get a life.
I'm going to stand before God here and account for whether I was maximizing the fruitfulness of my family and my ministry. And low and behold, if anyone did ask me that it's probably hypocritical because they are setting aside money for the kids, they are taking a vacation.
So I just don't want anybody else's expectations of somehow control. We do have to use wisdom. I mean if I pull up in a 2014 Lexus. Wow. Now that's going to raise some eyebrows. Just on the other end if I pull up in a '69 Subaru rusted out and my pedaling with my feet or something.
Well, that has the opposite effect and what's the balance there that we can really avoid anybody accusing us of, and Paul tried to warn that balance. Again in “The God Ask”, we talk a lot about what should the standard of living be for Christian workers?
Marc: Well that's a good chance. That would be a fascinating, whole another seminar probably
but maybe this could lead into some of the resources because I know The God Ask is one of the great resources that's on the resource slide.
Steve: The resource slide. Those are just to me, those are kind of 1, 2, 3, 4. The first four, I call
the Big Four, you know, over the years to me Betty Barnett, Bill Dill, and Scott Morton, Keith Sumner [SP].
There were four different ministries, four different books. All excellent. All have beautiful things to offer. The two books that I've added here in the recent two to three years is, well, I'll have to the get other one but one of them is “The God Ask” and it's a brand new one. And a fresh biblical approach to personal support raising. Please go to that.
Marc: I've got it right here on my desk.
Steve: So it's been a very well received book. I'm so grateful for that. And it's just a biblical
and practical kind of “A to Z” how do you approach and put your team together. We also have on our website there, Marc, the personal support raising bootcamp which you will see on the next slide but also a free monthly newsletter.
We are actually moving it to probably closer to twice a month now and just the top support raiser trainers in the world really are our writers and so please go there, subscribe. Probably about five thousand Christian workers get that every month and we would be honored for your listeners to subscribe to that too.
That next slide really describes these bootcamps that we've been doing now. I'm a little tired. You know I've been doing them for 15 years once a month in a different city around the country, and we pack them out with 60 or 70 members.
We have been able to train staff from over 500 organizations and we are just now starting to multiply that training where we have put it into a new workshop facilitated curriculum where now ministries themselves can take our curriculum and designate their in-house trainer.
And so, please go contact us, if any of your listeners want to have a support raising curriculum that they can use with their staff, that's what we are moving to but it's both ends.
It's the big, broad bootcamp that anybody can come to. We are still going to have those every month where we are training people over two days but also this form that we can give to other ministries and let them use our curriculum as an in-house tool.
The next resource Marc. is the book that I did about two and half years ago, three years ago. And this one is called “View Points”. I know not a very original title but it's really for leaders.
If any of your listeners are leading others, they are leading a team or division or organization or they are leading support raising, this is 66 chapters chocked full of all kinds of real helpful practical help on, how do you help your people think right and live right and practice right, especially in this realm of support raising?
It's how do you develop a healthy culture in your organization of support raising and that's been a big -- well received too in the last two and half years.
And finally a few other resources that I've produced and we have a little publishing arm. It's just called CMM press. Center for Mission Mobilization press. And if any of your listeners have anything to do with students, 17 to 25.
That's really what I've spent a lot of my time doing over the years is college ministry. Those are a couple of tools “Brown Like Coffee” and “Fueling the Flames” that have been great tools for college ministry and explore just helps them build real vision into their students.
Finally, let me go to this last slide and then I know we are out of time, Marc,and you can tie it up however you want to but this is the book, that the last 15 years of bootcamp, is what we did is we took it and put it into a book,
And the training that we provided during those two days here, it is... and “The God Ask” is kind of a strange name to it. First when it was suggested to me by a missionary in Kenya, it sounded strange.
The more I thought about it, it moved to a fascinating, and now, I think it's profound because when we go into an appointment we better talk to God first, we better make the God Ask first, before I make the Steve Ask and ask someone for support, I better talk to God first.
So this little triangle there represents the three persons that are involved in every appointment. It kind of takes the pressure off. It takes the pressure off that God is involved in this process. So me as the ministry worker, I am going to ask God in advance for provision like Nehemiah did and then when I'm in that appointment I'm asking that potential supporter, inviting them to partner with me.
Well, I am also trusting God, that God will lead them and that they will go to God and that they will ask God for guidance as whether they should support us not. And so the book talks about this concept and this diagram in verses that compact the idea of “The “God Ask”. But we just better understand that there's a third person involved and God is superintending this whole process.
Marc: So good.
Steve: He will go before us and that can make it an exciting adventure as we trust Him to get
us the full support.
Marc: Steve, I am so thrilled that you gave so much of your time today and you gave us so
many, I have pages of notes from this. From you know, the biblical stories to things like “thank before you bank”.
I mean, I have so many great phrases in here that are just real nuggets to take away for anybody who is doing fundraising but are particular for those of us that are wanting to advance the kingdom intentionally in the way that we do this. Thank you so much
Steve: That's Arkansas poetry Marc. Thank you before bank. That's poetry in Arkansas.
Marc: If you hear my training for the future, I think that might be something that I'll contribute
to you but that makes sense because it's easy to think about putting money in the bank but you’ve got to thank first because you got to fill the love bank up.
You’ve got to build a relationship and let them know they are more, they are not just an ATM to you. I mean we could go on but I'm really glad you are here.
I want to encourage everybody that was listening to and listens to this as a replay, please go to supportraisingsolutions.org, sign up for the newsletter, get the different resources because fundraising for ministry can feel incredibly lonely but you don't have to be alone.
There's no reason for you to be alone. And you are not, even though it's the first time you've done this, you don't have to re-invent the wheel. There's a lot of good tools out there that Steve's created and is working with others to create.
And then just a reminder too, that you can always keep up with the, whatever, the upcoming trainings coming from the non-profit academy. The NPA Presents series right at nonprofitacademy.com/upcomingevents.
Until the next time, this was Marc Pitman and it's been my pleasure to be your host.