Here are the final 4 confessions of a seasoned fundraiser (my story). Look for yourself. Glean from my mistakes and misconceptions of fundraising.
9. Follow up, follow up, follow up. After making the “ask” for funds I assumed that the prospect or donor would surely get back to me. No, I needed to control the follow up. I have what I call the 48 hour rule. When a person indicates they want to pray about my request I ask if I can call them in two days. If that time frame won’t work I simply come to an agreement as to when I should follow up with them. This becomes my next step in follow-up.
10. Recognize that all donors are not wired to give systematically. It would have been so nice if they all gave on a regular monthly basis and I could easily project the funds coming in. But some people love to respond to special needs and give from time to time. People are wired differently. I have some people who will take my envelope and put it with their bills to systematically send a gift. On the other hand, I have other donors who are very responsive as the Spirit leads and will give accordingly. I need to find out their rhythm and work accordingly, instead of pressuring them to give according to a one-size-fits-all method
11. Keep cultivating your donors. Getting the gift was just the beginning. I had to cultivate, thank, update, and stay involved and in touch. In this day and age there are so many options for people to give if I fail to keep them engaged on my team. I love to stay in contact with people. I want them to sense my love and appreciation. Oftentimes I call just to bring them up to date. Those simple contact points can cement our relationship.
12. Prayer is a two-way street. At first I thought prayer was all about me and my ministry, but I soon realized my prospects and donors had needs that required my prayer on their behalf. I count it a privilege to be able to pray for my donors. They are integral to our ministry, and I try to be intentional about finding ways to minister to them.
When I began the ministry of Inner City Impact www.InnerCityImpact.org in Chicago we had no money, no staff, and no building. We literally started on a sidewalk. I sold pots and pans to earn a living, but I knew God had a call on my life and we needed to reach out to these inner-city kids. You can readily see from my early mistakes and misconceptions that fundraising does not come naturally, but the good news is that it can be learned and applied, and through it, God is faithful to bring together the generosity of others to bring about His good work.