Tip of the Month

3 Donor Rights

I am a firm believer in keeping our donors advised on what the Lord is doing in our ministries; after all they are investors in our ministries and so to speak have what I refer to as donor rights. For example, here are 3 donor rights.

  • The right to know if you received the gift
  • The right to know if you needed the gift
  • The right to know if you appreciated the gift

A simple letter, phone call, or even an e-mail indicating that you had received their gift, it was needed and truly appreciated can go a long way on making your donors feel special.

 

Retention vs. Acquisition

In People Raising it is very important than you continue to cultivate your donors. They need to be thanked and updated. There are at least two reasons why this is important.

The first reason to cultivate your donors is that they are investors in your ministry and investors need to know what is happening with their investment.

The second reason is that it makes sense for you to keep your donors updated and happy in order to retain their financial support. It is much more cost effective in terms of your time, money, and effort to retain your current donors versus finding new ones. Your existing donors will stop supporting you when you fail to nurture and cultivate them.

When it comes to doing everything possible to retain your donors versus having to go out and find brand new donors, doesnÕt it make sense to retain them?

My vote is for retention vs. acquisition.

 

Fund Raising Is Not A Science

In the world of math and science you work with formulas. Early on you learn that two plus two equals four. Once you discover that formula, you continue to use it throughout your entire life, and the formula always produces the same result. But fund raising is not a science.

For example, when asking for a financial gift, a key question is, “How much should I ask for?” I wish I could provide you with a nicely packaged formula. But you see fund raising is not a science.

Back to the question on the table: “How much should I ask for?”

We need to take a look at different indicators of prospective donors such as the job they hold, the community they live in, the house they own, the car they drive. These things begin to help us determine to some degree the capacity they have to give. I believe we need to address these issues and for the cause of Christ we need to raise people’s vision. But always remember that fund raising is not a science!”

 

Are You Asking the Right Person?

Scenario: You are seeking support from a church. You know the youth pastor or the associate pastor and you ask them if the church would take on your support. But who is the decision maker? Is it the chairman of the missions committee? The pastor? That decision maker is the person you need to contact.

Scenario: You are working with a couple. You spend a lot of time talking to the wife only to find out that it is really the husband who is the decision maker, or the opposite is the case.

Scenario: You are working with a foundation. You talk to a receptionist. but who is the decision maker?

Failing to get to the right person can be fatal. Do all in your power to discover who the decision-maker is and get to that person when you share your vision.

 

The Role of the Public Meeting

I am convinced that as they raise funds many people have unrealistic expectations about presenting their ministry in a public meeting.

Right from the start, you need to realize that the public meeting normally is not an effective fund raising tool.

You might ask, “What is the role of the public meeting?”

It serves some of these significant purposes:

  • It builds awareness of your ministry
  • It provides an opportunity for vision casting
  • It builds needed prayer support
  • It educates people on your ministry

With all of that said, let me share one very effective fund raising opportunity that could come out of a public meeting. I make it a practice to identify one person from a meeting that I could follow up. As I do, I begin to build a relationship and at the appropriate time to ask them to be part of my financial team.

Try it, and it will pay big dividends!

 

3 Keys to Success: Work, Work, Work

Raising funds is hard work and there is simply no shortcut. Picking up the phone and asking for appointments takes time, and when there is no answer or your prospective donor needs to check his calendar and asks you to call back, it requires more time and more work on your part.

When you ask for the gift and the person wants time to consider your request again, it calls for follow-up on your part. Fund raising takes work, and more work, and even more work.

But someone has put it all in perspective: “Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.” – Steven Wright

 

Impact of a Pledged Gift vs. a Special Gift

It might be easier or more convenient for you to simply challenge people to give, for example, a special gift of $100. You are excited to get a gift and they are pleased to help. However, donÕt overlook the impact of a pledged monthly gift! Just think. If that same person were challenged to support your ministry at $100 a month, over the course of the first year they would have invested $1200!

DonÕt sell yourself short. Ask for that monthly pledged gift right up front and watch how it will reduce the time it takes to raise needed funds.

LetÕs quickly run the numbers. One person pledging $100 per month = $1200 in annual giving. On the down side, it would take twelve different people giving special gifts of $100 each to produce that same amount of $1200 in annual giving.

I think you see the point. Ask for that pledged monthly gift;make that your default and you can always come back and ask for a special gift for those who find it impossible to pledge monthly.

 

Thou Shalt Not Stereotype

Scenario: You are trying to estimate how much money to ask from some new prospects. You learn they are retired and quickly you write them off. Be careful about stereotyping people!

Wonder if that retired person owned his own company? He very likely has the potential to generously support you. All of a sudden the stereotype is broken down and you begin to really see the potential. In People Raising it is important to take a look at each person individually.

 

Worst-Case Scenario

The fear of fund raising is real, but it should not paralyze us. Whenever fear strikes, you need to ask and then answer one key question.

What is the worst-case scenario?

Example: I ask for too much money from a person who I know is eager to provide some support.
Question: What is the worst-case scenario?
Answer: They might not agree to give that particular amount but a lower amount.

That’s not a bad scenario after all, but see how our mind plays off that fear and we think we will turn our friends away from us and they will never talk to us again. No; because you are asking people that know, trust and care for you, they will continue to respect and love you. That, my friend, is a guarantee you can literally “take to the bank.”

 

Avoiding The Hallway Ask

Scenario: You encounter a person in the church hallway who enthusiastically asks about your support needs.

There is a strong tendency on your part to ask then and there for his/her financial help.

Don’t fall into that trap. You need instead to take the occasion to set up a time when you could present, in detail, your vision and challenge them to be a part of your support team. This will give you more time to share your passion, raise their vision, and answer questions they might have regarding your call to ministry.

 

Receiving That First Gift

Scenario: You are visiting with a prospective donor and they agree to support your ministry. You are grateful to the Lord, but now you need to receive that first gift.

Let me suggest you take the following steps:

  1. Ask if it might be convenient for them to write a check right then and there.
  2. If that is not possible, establish a date when you can anticipate receiving that first gift.
  3. Follow up until that first gift has been received.

 

Getting Specifics For Future Follow Up

Scenario: Person indicated they would like to give a large gift in the future to your ministry.

That sounds great, but there are 2 questions that easily can be answered. You need to ask these follow up questions:

1. When you say larger gift, could you give me some idea what you might have in mind? Can you give me a range?

2. When you say in the future, when should I get back in contact with you? Early next year? Spring? Summer? Fall? End of the year?

The answers to these questions will guide you as you continue to bring people to a decision on how they will support your ministry.

 

The Difference Between Public Relations and Fund Raising

Many people think that, just because they speak in a church, send an attractive letter, even speak on radio, that they are certainly destined to raise needed funds. All those activities are very good, but they are more public relations tools, not fund raising.

Fund raising is the process in which we not only share our vision, but ask people to be a part of our team.

Public relations gives people good impressions, whereas fund raising intentionally challenges people to play a financial role in the Lord’s work.

 

Don’t Stop Collecting

I am constantly in a collecting mode when it comes to donors and prospective donors. I listen carefully and capture such things as names of family members, cell-phone numbers, name of the church they attend, business associates, etc. You can never gather enough information on people, because you are actively involved in People Raising.

 

Stranger or Friend?

When is the last time you talked to your key donors? If it is recent, you might expect your next phone call to be easy. If you have neglected them, don’t be surprised if the relationship is a bit strained. You can make life easier for yourself by staying in contact with your donors. A simple call or a personal letter will go a long way in growing that relationship.

 

Front End / Back End

As you raise funds for a project, or for personal support, I have discovered at least 2 different types of donors.

Some love to launch a project and want to have the opportunity to be one of the first to give. There are others, however, who get great satisfaction by seeing the funding of a project coming to completion.

Some want to give on the Front End, and others on the Back End. Keep that in mind as you do your People Raising.

 

Late, On Time, or Early?

In arriving for an appointment for a busy businessman or businesswomen you really have 3 options: Late, On Time, or Early.

Arriving late is never an option. On time is good, but arriving early is even better. In some cases, not all, you might find that they may be able to meet with you earlier and in essence you have bought yourself some more time. More time to do valuable “People Raising.”

 

Who Signs Those Checks?

As gifts arrive for your support or for your organization, you might find it very interesting as to who signs those checks.

In many cases it is the wife and in some cases, not all cases, you might discover that she is the one that really has the heartbeat for you and your ministry. Maybe she deserves more of your attention as you thank them and keep them updated on your ministry.

Maybe your focus on the husband needs to be more of a focus on her. The person signing the check might reveal who really has the passion for your ministry.

 

The 48-Hour Principle

Scenario: You ask a person if they would financially support you or your organization. They hesitate momentarily and then respond by saying, “I really need to pray about this matter.”

You are instantly placed in the follow-up mode, but what do you say?

Advice: Apply The 48-Hour Principle.

I would suggest to your prospect or donor that you will plan to call them back in 2 days (48 hours).

If 48 hours is not sufficient time for them, you arrive at an agreeable date for you to follow up by phone.

Here is where it gets easier. After 48 hours have passed, you pick up the phone and say, “You recall we agreed that I would call you concerning your decision.”

You have just taken an awkward process, a guessing game on your part-that of the follow up, and made it a simple agreement to speak within 2 days. Now you can continue your process to bring that person to a decision.

 

Long Run Vs. Short Run

Scenario: You meet a prospective donor, and you learn very quickly that they have a great capacity to give. You don’t really know them that well, but you just get excited because of their capacity to give.

Advice: Remember that people give to people they know, trust, and care for. Don’t think short range, think long range. If you rush in and ask for a gift without a significant relationship you could burn your bridges and never have a second chance.

Think long range, be patient, build that relationship and wait for that time when you could ask them to be a part of your team.

 

The #1 Reason Why People Give

You might be surprised by my response to this topic. You might even think that we ought to hire an outside agency to research donors across the world to determine why people give, but this is one of those things that is so obvious but we fail to follow through on the findings.

The # 1 reason why people give is simply because they are asked. Someone has a dream and a vision of what God has asked him or her to do with ministry and he or she, in turn, asks another individual to give to that vision.

If that is the #1 reason why people give, what is holding you back from asking someone this week to give to the significant ministry God has entrusted with you to accomplish?

 

The Number One Fundraising Sin For Organizations

Over thirty years of fundraising I have found the hardest money to raise for an organization is debt money – you need to avoid it like a plague.

From the donor’s perspective, why did you get in debit in the first place? Didn’t you see it coming? Why didn’t you take the steps to solve it?

Don’t put your organization in the position where you attempt to raise debt money. Donors want to give to vision, not debt.

At a later date I will address debt for an individual raising support. Most people have it (college debt, car, house, etc.) and it certainly needs to be approached with a balanced strategy.

 

Not So Quick!

Timing is everything when it comes to fundraising, and there are 2 extremes. Either we ask too quick, or we wait too long to ask. My concern here is not so quick!

Scenario: We get the name of a Christian businessman who has great potential. We move too quick and the person says no to our request.

Remember that people give to people they know, they trust, and care for. In this scenario, no relationship has been established.

The People Raising Video Kit will train you on the steps you need to take to develop that relationship and make it possible for you at the appropriate time to ask that very person to be a part of your support team.

 

2 Out of 3 People Who Stop Giving Think You Don’t Care About Them

For every 100 people that stop supporting you:

  • 4 Move Away or Die
  • 15 Transfer Their Giving To Another Organization
  • 15 Are Unhappy With Your Organization
  • 66 Think You Don’t Care About Them

Caring for your donors can go a long way when it comes to retaining your supporters. What can you do this week to demonstrate your love and care for your donors?

It is a lot easier to show your care and concern for your existing donors than to go out looking for a brand new donor.

 

Your Decision or Their Decision?

There are many times we miss God’s blessings simply because we take things into our own hands. Unfortunately we might even do this in our fundraising. How many times do we make decisions for our prospects and donors?

For example, we are building our list of prospective donors and as we come across a name to add, we go through OUR thinking process and draw the conclusion that they won’t give to me or my organization because, they already support 4 other missionaries; they support 6 other organizations, they cannot afford it because they have 2 kids in college.

In essence, we make the decision for them.

I have found over and over again that many people love to give and if they know you, trust you and care for you it is conceivable that they could support you and your organization in addition to the other individuals and organizations they support.

But the real issue is: Your Decision or Their Decision?

I think you got the point, let them make the decision whether they will support you or your organization.

 

Avoiding The Group Ask

In our desire to meet our fundraising goals there are times we take some dangerous short cuts. One example is that of the group ask.

With our vision locked in we begin to map out those who have the capacity to give financially. So far so good, but then we begin to think something like this—if we could gather as many people as possible at one time we certainly could get our message out a lot faster. But let me remind you that your goal is not efficiency, getting your message out as fast as possible. No, the goal is to effectively maximize the gift potential of individuals. (People Raising).

Here is the danger of the group ask. As you make your appeal to the group there are members of the group that look across the room and so to speak begin to calculate the giving potential of the group. Having done that, they begin to assume they really do not need to give a bigger gift and your worst scenario takes place, they give below their capacity.

Meeting with them individually you get to personalize your ask and raise their vision. Try it; it works time and time again.

 

Don’t Merely Focus on the Past

Donors’ past giving is certainly an indicator for making future requests, but don’t limit people’s ability to give by merely focusing on what they have given to in the past. The key is to ask in terms of capacity.

 

Do Not Delegate Your Fund Raising

There are times when we sacrifice effectiveness for efficiency. When it comes to fund raising, you might think it would be to your benefit to delegate fund raising. It certainly would appear to be an efficient move. Why not get a series of people that would raise my funds? The problem is, none of these other friends and people will be able to duplicate your passion and commitment. You dare not delegate this most important transaction.

 

Negative Vibes

As you approach fund raising, do any of these words describe you?

afraid
anxious
apprehensive
awkward
confused
overwhelmed
panic-stricken
paralyzed
defeated
bewildered

I offer these 3 pieces of advice:

  1. Be Prayerful — “…casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
  2. Be Prepared — get trained through the 6-Hour People Raising DVD program or a People Raising Conference. It will reduce many of the fears listed above and give you a track to run on.
  3. Be Proactive — Go for it. Don’t wait for the people and funds to come to you. You need to make the first move and boldly share the vision and assignment God has personally given you.

 

Just Do It

Those were the very words of advice given by a person in one of my conferences. What she was saying was, “Pick up the phone and ’Just do it!’ — make the call.”

Fear can be crippling to the point that we fail to get up the courage to pick up the phone and make that call to set up a fund raising appointment. I still struggle with that fear but I can tell you that so many times I am glad I simply “just did it.” I have many stories today showing how God was at work, and those very same people I so feared have become great partners in my ministry. So my advice is “Just do it!”

 

The Couple’s Dilemma

As a couple, you are planning to make a call on some prospects. The dilemma you face is what role will each of you play in the conversation? Make sure you both know what you are going to do, as you cannot afford to drop the ball as you ask for the funds.

 

Tell It from your Heart

Recently I was meeting with one of our brand-new missionaries with Inner City Impact. Her passion to come and work with inner city kids was just oozing out of her. Her voice, her eyes were saying “I want so much to come and love these kids to the Lord.”

My advice to her was to take that passion she was exhibiting to me and share it in the very same way with her prospects and donors.

For example, using the name “Bob” I encouraged her to say something like:

“Bob I really value our relationship, yet let me tell you where I am at. My heartbeat is for this ministry and these precious inner city kids. I can’t wait to get to Chicago! God’s called me there, and I want to challenge you to be a part of this critical ministry to inner city kids. I need people like you that would commit $200 a month for my support. Bob, would you be one of those people that would commit $200 a month?”

Tell it from your heart and give people a chance to partner with you.

 

Adding Value to Our Donors

We hear many companies and people talk about “adding value.” As we raise money for the Lord’s work, we can add value to our donors. It could take on many examples, but essentially, you and I add value to our donors by simply giving them an opportunity to invest back into the Lord’s work. It is that basic. Never for a minute should we think that this is a one way street where we are the only ones that benefit as they give. There is a great value and benefit that they receive as they give. Let’s not forget the scriptural principle that it is more blessed to give than receive. (Acts 20:35B)

 

Light on the Challenge, Light on the Gift

As you ask for funds, it is important that you challenge people. However, if you are light on the challenge they may be light on the gift. If you ask for $25, you will probably get a $25 gift. On the other hand if you ask a person who is capable of giving a $150 gift, you are more likely to get a $150 gift.

It’s your choice, but remember if you are light on the challenge you will be light on the gift.

 

Pressuring or Challenging?

As we meet with prospects and donors, I am a firm believer in raising people’s vision. I think it is important to think big and ask people for bigger gifts. The minute I suggest that, I hear some of those raising funds say, “I can’t do that. I don’t want to pressure people.”

There is no need to pressure but simply to challenge people to give a bigger gift. Once you have challenged them, they have the opportunity to make a decision. It’s that simple. Yes, there is a difference between pressuring and challenging. It all goes back to how you perceive it and handle it. Certainly there is nothing wrong with challenging people.

 

Your Turf, Their Turf?

In meeting with brand new prospects, one of the questions that will come up in your mind is where do I meet them? My Turf, Their Turf?

Let me begin with the ideal. You want to get people down to see your ministry (your turf). It is then they can see firsthand your ministry. But in working with prospective donors, initially it might be more practical to go to them. Meet them at their office or home, or wherever they might choose (their turf).

 

Avoiding the Hit and Run

A person truly committed to people raising will not only be trained and prepared to ask for funds, but be committed to thanking and updating their donors. The opposite is what I refer to as the “hit and run”. What I mean by this is, a person who is great with asking for the funds but once the money is in hand, they are nowhere to be found. We can avoid that image of “hit and run” by truly being committed to those who are funding our ministry. Thank you letters and updates all are a vital part of people raising.

 

Upgrade Their Giving

Most individuals and organizations I meet talk of the need to raise more funds. Remember one great opportunity right beneath your nose is that of your current donors. Why not challenge them to upgrade their giving? Far too often you find donors giving at the same level for years without being challenged to give even more.

 

Prayer: A 2-Way Street

As you meet with donors, it’s not about merely having them pray for you, but you praying for them as well. Remember, donors and prospects are no different than you and me. They have struggles, whether family, work, or personal issues. You can have a tremendous ministry as you sincerely pray for those who are part of your team.

 

Fill in the Blank

As you get to know your donors, there will be many unanswered questions on your part. There will be information you would love to know. Be patient and be engaged with them. The more interaction you have, you will begin to be get many of those questions answered and in a sense, be able to “fill in the blank.”

 

Signal your Intention

A key part of fund raising is follow up and persistence. You will make your job far easier if you “signal your intention” to follow up.

I would use such simple phrases as:

  • “I want to stay in touch with you.”
  • “I will get back to you on (e.g.) December 1st.
  • “I will call you next time we have a need.”

When you follow up, you can remind them of your conversation in the past, and following through with the intentions you spoke about.

Fund Raiser and Advisor

There can be occasions when as a fund raiser you have the opportunity to built a strong bond with a donor over a period of time. Over the years, they respect and trust you; they really, deeply care for you. In situations like this, you might be able to play not only the role of a fund raiser, but the role of personal advisor.

You very well might be in a position to say, “Here is what I would recommend. I really believe you ought to make a $____ gift to this particular project or vision.”

These are wonderful People Raising opportunities that come only over a long period of relationship building, but produce wonderful rewards.

Look for Replacements

As you raise funds, there will be times when faithful donors are unable to give financially. It could be as simple as financial setbacks, or as serious as a life-altering situation such as a serious illness or death.

I would suggest 2 things:

  1. Take the opportunity to pray for them.
  2. Ask if they would introduce you to another person who might be able to possibly replace their giving.

I tried this approach and was introduced to a person who made a first-time gift of $5,000.

Be on the lookout for replacements!

3 Times to Avoid Calling a Busy Business Person

There are at least 3 times when I purposely avoid calling a busy professional person:

1. The start of the business week
2. The end of the business week
3. Just before or after a holiday

These are not iron clad rules, but I would rather place my call when the prospect or donor would be most likely to talk.

The Paper Trail

As I communicate with prospects and donors, I always make it a point to maintain a paper trail. I want to put down in writing what transpired, what commitments were made, deadlines agreed upon, etc.

Once I have done that for my records, I send the prospect or donor a letter reciting the key points. This not only reinforces the important topics of our conservation, but many people will file that letter as a reminder for them upon what we agreed. I have simply taken one more step to make sure they will take the action we discussed.

Donors Understand Budgeting Too

Scenario: You have a prospect or donor who has been interested in supporting you or your organization but they are simply noncommittal. How can you approach them and bring them to a decision?

Talk in terms of budgeting. Indicate that it is important for you or your organization as you budget to know what can be expected in the way of financial support. Challenge them specifically about what part they can play.

Donors and prospects know all about budgets, and it’s a good talking point to move them from being non-committal to making a decision.

How to Engage in Conversation

As we do People Raising, we are always concerned about how to engage in conversation with our prospects and donors. Whether meeting or phoning a prospect or donor, you can’t go wrong by asking about:

  • Their family
  • Their job
  • Their hobbies
  • Their church

This is not only helpful on your first contact, but once you are familiar with your prospect or donor, these are the areas to start off future conversations with as you talk about them and their interests.

Match Your Communications With Their Communications

As you seek to raise funds, you will discover people with different communication styles. You need to be aware of these differences and match your communications with their communications.

  • If they are serious you need to respond by being serious.
  • If they are fast-paced you might pick up the pace of your communications.
  • If they are laid back you ought to adjust accordingly.

People are different, and their mode of communication can be different. Your job is to match your communications with their communications.

Long Distance Fund Raising
How do you effectively ask a person for financial support when it is impossible to visit them? Normally you send a letter appealing for their help and hope that they will respond. I would recommend a 2 step strategy.

Step 1. Send a letter. Share your vision and promise that you will call them.

Step 2. Call and share your passion in more detail and use this occasion to challenge them to give.

You will see far better results as you apply this 2 step strategy. The phone call is far more personal than a letter; it allows them to hear the excitement in your voice, to ask questions, and to open up two-way communication. You are then able to challenge them with a specific amount or range of gift.

High Touch & High Tech

People Raising has been successful because it focuses on individual people (prospects and donors) as opposed to a mass marketing approach where people are merely another name, another number.

To be successful we need to be HIGH TOUCH.

We need to be as personable as possible. Whenever we can, we want to be face-to-face with people. When that is impractical, we can talk by phone and get away from the impersonal mass mailings that have long been the normal mode of communication.

To be successful we need to be HIGH TECH.

We live in a marvelous era where technology can be our friend to pursue our goal of HIGH TOUCH.

Such things as:

  • Personalized letters
  • E-mail
  • Cell phones
  • Social Media
  • Websites and Blogs
  • Programs like Skype, for the foreign missionary, make it possible to stay in touch with others all over the world, either for pennies or absolutely no charge.

We really have no excuse for not maintaining a standard of HIGH TOUCH today. Make it your goal and watch as people respond to the People Raising philosophy.

Jump Starting Q&A
When presenting your ministry to a group, a Q&A (question and answer) session is a great idea. It gets people engaged and gives you the chance to practically share your ministry.

Many times the hardest thing is getting the questioning started.

2 quick suggestions:

  1. There are times when you are the person that needs to interject a typical question to start the ball rolling. For example, you might begin by saying, “One of the questions often asked of me is: ‘Have you set a particular date when you would like to leave for your assignment?'” (i.e. “When do you need to see all the funds received for this project?”)
  2. In advance you might ask a person who is part of the group if they would start the questioning.

These 2 suggestions will certainly help avoid the dead silence which comes in simply getting a question and answer time started.

Always Arrive Early, Never Arrive Late
When arriving for business appointments, you might make it a practice to arrive a few minutes early. In many cases, the person you want to see might have the opportunity to meet with you earlier which will give you more time to spend together. Be prepared to wait if they cannot meet any earlier than the established appointment time.

Never arrive late. Not only do you miss out on valuable time to meet, but you send the signal that their time is not valuable.

Capacity First, Strategy Second
As we develop strategies to raise funds it is only natural to set a fund raising goal (i.e. $10,000) and then calculate a gift amount to challenge people (i.e. 20 people giving $500 would meet our goal.

Though this might seem quite logical and practical, there is a danger. Locking yourself into a set amount to ask (i.e. $500) you could be challenging your donor or prospect at too low an amount. Why ask a person who is capable of giving $2,000 for a gift of $500?

To avoid asking too low, think capacity first, and challenge on that basis.

Remember: capacity first, strategy second.

Who’s In Control?

Scenario: You have asked for a gift and the prospect or donor has indicated they want to take some time to think over your request. It has been agreed that they would need 2 days to give more thought to a decision.

Question: Who should make the follow up call?

1. The fund raiser
2. The Donor

As a fund raiser, you don’t want to loose control of the process. You should make the follow up call. This will save you a lot of worry and make your job far easier.

Practical Steps to Reduce Phone Tag

I am constantly working with people on the go, and like you, I am frustrated when call after call does not find my prospect or donor available to take my call.

For example, you are on the phone with a secretary and the prospect or donor is not available and you want to follow up with a future phone call and reduce the possibility of phone tag.

Here are 4 questions I might ask when I get a live person, for example, a secretary that will help me reduce phone tag.

Question #1: “Is there a better time to reach ______?”
Their response might be: “Yes, next week.”

Question #2:”Is there a better day next week to reach them?”
Their response might be: “Tuesday”

Question #3: “Is it better to reach them in the morning or afternoon?”
Their response might be: “Afternoon.”<p>

Question #4: “Is there a better time in the afternoon to reach them?”
Their response might be: “Between 2 and 3.”

These types of follow-up questions can help you to zero in on a time frame that will increase your chances of connecting with that prospect or donor the next time you call.

Too Little or Too Much?

Are you asking for too little or too much?

It has been my experience that most people raising funds ask for far too little.

When it comes to asking for too much, rarely is that a problem. Even when you are asking for too much, your donor is normally complemented that you felt he or she had the capacity to give at that higher level.

If you are going to error, error on asking for too much.

Asking Clarifying Questions

As we interact with prospects and donors, there are statements they make which, when followed up correctly, can help us as we seek to involve them as donors.

The key is to follow up by asking appropriate, clarifying questions.

For example, a prospect or donor says, “I certainly can see myself helping you financially in the future.

Here are some of the clarifying questions I might follow up with:

  • “Can you give me an idea of what you have in mind?”
  • “Do you have any particular dollar amount in mind?”
  • “Do you have any time frame in mind as to when you see yourself making a decision on a gift for me or my project?”
  • “When would be a good time in the future to talk about this?”

Be looking for those opportunities to ask clarifying questions of your prospects and donors and move closer to securing their gift for your ministry.

Fund Raising Fatigue

As I address the topic of Fund Raising Fatigue, I am thinking in terms of the fund raiser. There are at least 3 significant occasions when this can occur as a person raises individual or organizational support.

1. Start Up – People who have had little or no fund raising training can easily be paralyzed by fear. More than likely they have no plan, no experience, little hope, and right from the start they experience fund raising fatigue.

2. Half Way Mark – They have enjoyed some success, they have focused on people that know, trust and care for them and people have responded. But now they are running out of contacts. They now find themselves in brand-new territory and like most, they simply have not been trained to take it to the next level. They need a proven plan.

3. Nearing the End – They are so close to their fund raising goal but yet they feel they are so far away. They need the encouragement of an experienced fund raising coach that will lead them to victory.

The People Raising 6-hour 12 step training program in DVD, Video, CD, or MP3 prepares a fund raiser to overcome Fund Raising fatigue. It is loaded with practical steps to overcome the fear factor and the time it takes to raise needed support.

You Pay? They Pay?

As we share our ministry with prospects and donors, many times it can involve a meal out. Who should pay? Should I pay? Should the prospect or donor pay?

You certainly don’t want to obligate your prospect or donor, therefore be willing to pay for the meal. However, 99.9% of the time they will pick up the tab.

If you end up paying, look at it as an investment. For example, if you pay $15 for their lunch and they end up giving you $50 a month, over 12 months that’s $600. That is what I would call a great return on the investment.

Don’t Blindside People

It is important that as you call for fund raising appointments, you telegraph to your prospect or donor that you are going to talk to them about finances when you visit them. Failing to do so could result in your blindsiding them as you meet together. As you call, it could be as simple as saying, “I am anxious to meet and share how people can invest in the vision the Lord has given me.”

Dependence Upon Fund Raising Tools

“Many times I am asked: ‘As you make your fund raising presentation do you use a presentation notebook, PowerPoint, videos, etc.?'”

There certainly is nothing wrong with using these tools, but don’t become so dependent upon fund raising tools that you fail to focus on the people component. You need to bond with your prospect or donor. They need to catch your vision and your heart. There is no tool in the world that can do it better than you. Be cautious that you don’t become dependent upon fund raising tools.

Front of the Line, Back of the Line

When it comes to fund raising and making requests for funds, we always like to be in the front of the line. Whether it is asking for a gift from a major donor, a key church or a charitable foundation we want to be right there at the front of the line. It has been my experience that many times we have to get in line at the back of the line. Don’t be discouraged. Get in line, stay in line and do your part to get in front of the line. Your patience and persistence could pay big dividends.

Privilege or Burden?

As fund raisers, there are times we take a look at our job as a burden. To successfully raise funds calls for discipline, persistence, and follow through. In the heat of the battle, we can get discouraged and down. It is at this point that it becomes a burden.

I am convinced that from time to time we need to see fund raising from a far different perspective. What you and I do to raise funds for the kingdom is a privilege. The Lord of the universe has given us an assignment and we are privileged to be his representatives.

As we carry out our role as a fund raiser, be reminded that it is a real privilege not simply a burden.

Need vs. Vision

It is easy for any of us as individuals or organizations to make a list of our needs. No doubt the list can be long and very specific. Need does not motivate people to respond and give. It is vision that excites people and motivates them to be part of what can be accomplished for the Lord.

As you prepare that letter, make a presentation or ask for a gift, make sure you share your vision, not merely your need.

Church Support – 3 Questions To Ask

1. Who are the decision makers in terms of financial support?

Is it the pastor, missions committee or the elders? Those are the people with whom you need to share your vision.

2. What are the church policies for financial support?

For example, how much support is normally provided for a single person? A married couple? What percentage of a person’s support is normally covered?

3. What deadlines must be met?

The deadline could be to submit an application to be reviewed for an approaching missions committee meeting. It could be the deadline in anticipation of the missions committee’s budget for the next year.

Getting answers to these three questions can help you take some of the necessary steps to securing church support.

Are You Aiming Too Low?

One of the key People Raising principles is to meet with your key prospects and donors face to face. Doing that allows you to best communicate your vision and passion.

But another benefit to you is that you can seek to raise their vision and hopefully their financial investment as they sense your enthusiasm and passion.

You need to capitalize and challenge them in their giving by asking for a specific amount or asking within a given range.

But you can easily loose that benefit by simply asking too low. There is nothing wrong on challenging people in their giving and stretching their faith. Let them respond to your challenge. Don?t you end up making the decision for them by simply asking too low.

3 Things to Do After the Ask

1. Follow up
2. Follow up
3. Follow up

I have found persistence to be one of the most critical keys in securing a gift.

Consistent, tactful, timely follow up can make the difference between no gift and a gift. Between a small gift and a large gift.

Remember to follow up!

Don’t Pre-Judge Your Prospects and Donors

It is far too easy to pre-judge our prospects and donors. We are great at thinking up reasons why they won’t be good candidates to support our ministries.

  • They won’t see us.
  • They won’t give.
  • They won’t give that much.

Let your donors and prospects make those decisions. We need to stay out of the business of pre-judging them, and focus on our job to challenge and raise their vision.

2 Ways to Lose a Donor

1. Don’t thank them.

If we fail to thank people, we can rob them of the joy of giving. Donors who are not thanked can easily feel forgotten and some might find other ways and places to give their funds.

2. Don’t update them.

Donors are investors, and any wise investor wants to know what is happening with an investment. In the financial world, an investment is merely a financial transition. In the Christian setting, giving is an investment in the Lord’s work, and donors need to know how their gift is making a difference.

2 Can Be 2 Many

Scenario: You have set up an appointment to ask a person for a gift and when you arrive for your appointment you find they have invited other people to attend.

What do you do now?

Normally under those circumstances it is very awkward to ask for the gift. Your best bet is to share your ministry and as you leave, indicate to your donor or prospect that you will be back in touch with them.  Your follow up call will allow you to reschedule or if that is impossible you might review your request with them and ask for the gift.

If All Else Fails, Get Them Giving

Sometimes we are overly concerned about getting people to pledge to our ministry or project. We like to be able to count on their committed support whether it comes in monthly, quarterly or annually.

But if they are not able to commit regular pledged support, if all else fails, get them giving. In other words get that first gift and then thank them and give them updates as to what their money is doing. Give them the satisfaction of giving, and they will probably give again.

2 Fundamental Concepts

1) People tend to give when they are asked.

2) People tend not to give when they are not asked.

Be Careful What You Request

For the sake of stewardship, there are times you need to clean up and purge your mailing list. The typical approach is to send out a letter and invite people to remove their name. Be careful what you request. I certainly would not ask that of those already supporting my ministry. Why in the world would you want a donor to stop giving? It is the non-donor of whom you might make this request, but be careful what you request.

Lack of Interest or Lack of Time?

Scenario: You are attempting to call a very busy person and you have tried on numerous occasions to reach him or her. You tried mornings and evenings and simply can’t successfully make contact. On several occasions you leave a message and your call is not even returned.

The normal reaction is to draw the conclusion that the person simply is not interested. Be careful what conclusions you draw. In many cases the person can be very busy, on a fast track and hard to catch up with.  It is not lack of interest but simply lack of time.

Shorter Can Be Better than Longer

When it comes to the frequency of our communication with our donors, many times shorter can be better than longer. There are times we postpone preparing and sending a letter or a newsletter. We just don’t have the time it takes to invest in a full-fledged piece of communication. The result? We simply do nothing.

Be careful to not neglect your donors. Keep in mind your goal is to stay in contact with them and many times this could be handled through a simple note or email. In these cases shorter can be better than longer.