I believe that when we get to Heaven there will be a very special place for the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Gospel. And sometimes I jokingly tell my friends who are in the ministry of fundraising that we will be somewhere near them.
I have a very special place in my heart for those who are in fundraising because I’ve been there myself. After spending 20 years in business, I began my 20+-year journey serving ministries and generous givers. I spent twelve of those years with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and the last nine years with the National Christian Foundation (NCF) serving high-capacity givers.
My heart is to encourage and equip those who fundraise for ministry with some of the knowledge that I’ve learned over the years. But there’s one thing I know for sure: The most significant inspiration for biblical generosity is the Holy Spirit. True biblical generosity is primarily a work of God in His children’s hearts. The information that I’m sharing cannot be considered apart from the transformation of our hearts by such a generous God.
So what does it mean when your ministry “goes viral?” Well, there are many things you can do to raise more money for your ministry, such as creating a newsletter, optimizing your website, making phone calls, and setting up meetings. But what happens when other people start to get excited about the cause? What happens when people naturally share with their friends, neighbors, and co-workers? This is what happens when your fundraising goes viral. Here are a few of the key principles:
V – Vision
I once worked with a development officer who was seeking a substantial donation for a large project. He pitched the prospective giver and heard a response that went something like this: “I want to add a zero to my next check but your vision is too small.”
Wow! What a missed opportunity. When it comes to your vision, think about the outcome you desire. Move away from the problem and start thinking about results. This should help you communicate a more specific, inspiring vision. And when people are inspired by your vision, they will likely share it with their friends.
I – Impact
Recently, one of my clients told me, “We don’t really have stories of life change… we just help kids.” Within a few minutes, we were talking about a little boy named Johnny. He was shy. But thanks to the care and mentoring provided by this ministry, Johnny’s spirit and self-esteem flourished, and he made significant strides in his social and educational skills. So why isn’t the ministry sharing this story?
Givers are inspired by impact, and when they see their gifts are making a significant difference, they will tell the world about it. Stories move the heart and indicate to the giver that his or her support is making the world a better place. And that’s the kind of news that people love to share.
R – Relationships
If you want to build lifetime supporters, you have to start with relationships.
Authentic fundraising is “friend-raising,” and your ministry is as much about taking care of your givers as it is about taking care of your cause.
Givers love it when you take interest in their families, their businesses, and special events in their lives. They love being asked for their professional opinion or their quick advice about a project. They also love it when you take an interest in their everyday lives … because that’s what true friends do!
It’s not just a job, it’s a calling
My encouragement to you is to view fundraising as a ministry, and not just a job. God has uniquely called you to this ministry, and He wants to use you in the lives of your givers, as well as the recipients of the ministry that you serve. May you be the hands and feet of Jesus as He helps the Gospel go VIRAL through you.
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